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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Lunch Time With Wawa

I always have lunch with my friend and ex-housemate Wawa every once in a while. There are good reasons for this, of course. First of all, there is this delicious kampong fried rice nearby where she stays. As if this isn't good enough, the meal is often free because she'll buy me lunch. Then, finally, she always has some stories to tell. Her stories, for some strange reason, are often sad. This makes the fried rice taste even better, because for that one hour, you'll cling onto the only good thing that you can count on.

Our last lunch was supposed to be no different, but the fried rice stall was closed! That must be an omen and I should have taken it seriously, but we carried on and hung out at the chicken rice stall instead. I wouldn't mind a change of menu for once because the chicken rice was good and I hadn't had it for quite some time. Then came Wawa and, as we started having our lunch, the storytelling began.

This chicken rice was one helluva bad news! Just kidding, haha.

Much to my surprise, Wawa got four sad stories. That's like whole lotta bad news to take in one go. By the end of story, Wawa sighed and wondered why many things happened in a way she didn't understand. Death came by without any warning, reminding her how fragile life could be. Having said that, she wondered why she was even here on earth. It was like, what for?

I had to admit that I was stunned to see that. Of all the ex-housemates, me included, Wawa was the most God-fearing and faithful one. I always looked up to her when it came to this aspect. But then it must be too much for her to bear that she cracked a little bit, so we had a discussion that I never thought we would be having, especially when I'm so specialised in talking nonsense. But it was a good discussion and looking back, I think it's worth summarising and sharing it here.

About things that happened, regardless how bad the experiences were when we went through them, they did happened for a reason. However, it might take us some time to finally get the right perspective. We might find it unfair and confusing at first, but all would be revealed when the time had come. If my life was any indicator, it took all the unpleasant events to bring me where I am today. Hence when bad thing happens, accept it and move on. Asking, "why me," won't make you feel better. It's not like you are going to know why, anyway.

The kampong fried rice that we normally had.

As for the death, Wawa's stories that day covered both ends of the spectrum. You either got really sick and died or you were healthy but dropped dead just like that. I quoted John Lennon that, "life is what happens to you while you are making other plans." Since we don't get to know when our time is up, why bother worrying about it? We better follow our dreams and chase what counts while we can.

And this eventually brought us to the final questions. Why are we here? Do we actually make a difference? I remember telling Wawa that we were here to make a dent in the universe! Okay, that was probably too over-confident, but even if we weren't destined to cause any dent, we still touched other people's lives. It's just the way of the of the world that people don't stop and tell us we actually matter, alright, but don't stop believing it. 

That three points above, they were lingering in my mind until now. It feels good to get rid of them in the form of writing. I think I'm ready for another free lunch now...

Wawa and Setia, waiting for the fried rice.


Makan Siang Bersama Wawa

Setiap kali ada kesempatan, saya selalu menyempatkan diri untuk makan siang bersama teman dan mantan teman serumah saya, Wawa. Ada alasan-alasan kuat kenapa saya dengan senang hati menempuh perjalanan sejauh 20 menit dengan MRT ini. Pertama-tama, di dekat rumahnya ada nasi goreng kampung yang lezat dan saya gemari. Selain itu, santap siang bersama Wawa seringkali gratis karena saya biasanya ditraktir. Alasan terakhir adalah, selain makan gratis, Wawa juga selalu memiliki beraneka cerita yang entah kenapa sering berakhir tragis. Paket nasi goreng gratis plus cerita sedih ini adalah sesuatu yang sulit saya lewatkan. 

Makan siang kita minggu lalu seharusnya kurang-lebih sama dengan sebelumnya, tetapi siapa sangka kedai nasi gorengnya ternyata tutup. Seharusnya saya menyadari bahwa ini adalah pertanda buruk, tapi berhubung saya sudah tiba di sana, kita pindah lokasi dan akhirnya menikmati nasi ayam. Saya tidak keberatan sesekali berganti menu karena nasi ayam ini juga terkenal enak dan saya sudah lama tidak mencicipinya. Setelah menunggu beberapa saat, tibalah Wawa dengan satu nampan nasi ayam. Ketika kita mulai makan siang, dongeng Wawa pun dimulai.

Sudarpo, Wawa dan Endrico, saat membawa saya menikmati nasi ayam ini untuk pertama kalinya di tahun 2005. 

Saya agak terkejut saat menyadari bahwa saat itu Wawa memiliki empat cerita sedih. Rasanya terlalu banyak untuk ditanggung oleh sepiring nasi ayam. Saat cerita berakhir, Wawa pun menarik napas panjang sambil berujar, kenapa kabar buruk datang beruntun. Ia merasa gagal paham. Kematian datang tanpa peringatan, mengingatkannya kembali bahwa kehidupan bisa sedemikian rapuhnya. Dan Wawa pun jadi bertanya, apa sesungguhnya arti hidup ini? 

Terus-terang saya agak tertegun saat melihat Wawa seperti itu. Dari semua mantan teman serumah termasuk saya sendiri, Wawa adalah yang paling saleh. Saya selalu mengaguminya dalam aspek ini. Wawa selalu memiliki jawaban, jadi agak janggal rasanya melihat dia justru bertanya. Akhirnya kita pun terlibat dalam sebuah diskusi yang tidak pernah saya bayangkan sebelumnya, sebab saya selalu lebih cocok dalam bersenda-gurau, bukannya topik seperti ini. Itu adalah sebuah percakapan yang menarik dan terlalu sayang untuk tidak dibagikan sebagai buah pikiran, oleh karenanya saya tulis ulang di sini.

Wawa yang saleh, saat berperan sebagai Bathsheba di tahun 2007. 

Tentang kenapa sesuatu terjadi, meskipun pahit pengalamannya saat terjadi pada kita, semua yang buruk terjadi karena ada alasannya, hanya saja kita butuh waktu untuk menyadarinya dalam sudut pandang yang tepat. Pada awalnya mungkin kita merasa bahwa sesuatu yang menimpa kita ini sungguh tidak adil dan membingungkan, namun pada akhirnya kita akan mengerti setelah tiba waktunya. Jika hidup saya bisa dipakai sebagai indikasi, segala sesuatu yang buruk dan terjadi pada saya akhirnya membawa saya pada hari ini. Akan beda ceritanya kalau ini melenceng sedikit saja. Berdasarkan hal tersebut, jika sesuatu yang buruk terjadi, saya belajar untuk menerima dan mencari tahu, apa yang bisa dikerjakan selanjutnya. Percuma jika kita bertanya, "kenapa saya," sebab itu tidak akan membuat kita merasa lebih baik. Lagipula bertanya seperti itu tidak akan membuahkan jawaban apa-apa. 

Akan halnya kematian, cerita Wawa mencakup dua ujung spektrum yang bertolak belakang. Seseorang bisa saja sakit parah dan meninggal atau sehat-sehat saja sebelumnya, lantas meninggal begitu saja. Saya mengutip John Lennon saat itu, bahwa hidup adalah apa yang terjadi saat kita sibuk membuat rencana. Karena kita tidak pernah tahu kapan hidup kita berakhir, mungkin tidak sebaiknya kita terlalu khawatir tentang hal ini. Waktu yang kita dimiliki akan lebih berguna jika dimanfaatkan untuk mengejar impian. 

Dan dua hal tersebut akhirnya membawa kita ke dua pertanyaan terakhir yang saling berkaitan. Kenapa kita ada di sini? Apakah kita sebenarnya membuat perbedaan dengan keberadaan kita ini? Saya ingat bahwa menggunakan perumpamaan kalau kita di sini untuk meninggalkan sedikit lekukan di jagad raya ini. Mungkin saja ungkapan tersebut terlalu optimis, tapi walaupun kita tidak ditakdirkan untuk mengubah dunia, kita tetap saja menyentuh kehidupan orang-orang terdekat dan teman-teman kita. Meski kita hampir tidak pernah diberitahukan orang lain bahwa kita berarti bagi mereka, jangan pernah berhenti percaya bahwa sedikit banyak kita telah mengubah hidup mereka dengan apa yang kita ucapkan dan perbuat.

Tiga hal dalam tiga paragraf di atas terngiang-ngiang di benak saya sempai saat ini. Lega rasanya bisa menuangkannya dalam bentuk tulisan. Hmm, saya rasa saya sudah siap untuk ditraktir makan siang lagi...

Nasi goreng kampung, tampak atas. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Hard Rock Moments

This story began in one fine afternoon, when I was finding out the location of Hard Rock Cafe in the specific countries that I'd like to visit in late October this year. After that, out of curiosity, I browsed its outlets around Asia and realized that Hard Rock actually had one shop in Yangon. To think that I actually visited Myanmar last year and was at Myanmar Plaza before, the same location where Hard Rock Cafe was! If only I knew it then! I'd been kicking myself for not doing due diligence prior to my visit to Myanmar, haha.

A Hard Rock moment at Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, 2017.

Anyway, just to share a bit of the background here, I'm never a fashionable person. I only have few decent clothes that I wear year in, year out. They are alright, neither expensive nor branded, just nice to cover myself from being naked. But there was something about Hard Rock that attracted me and what I experienced that afternoon got me reminiscing again about the day I fell in love with Hard Rock.

There were times when I actually didn't care about Hard Rock. Back then in Jakarta, even during our visit to Bali or Malacca, I couldn't be bothered with it. Years later, when my Dad and I stepped out from Universal Studios in Osaka, there was an outlet right in front of us. We went in as my Dad said he'd like to get a gift for his friend, so I got one for my wife, too. Then, on our last day in Yokohama, I also saw another branch when I had a long walk in Minato Mirai, so I went to get one t-shirt, this time for my buddy Parno.

Before I was a Hard Rock fan. Bali, 2005. 

Few months after that, before attending the Bon Jovi concert, my friends and I had our dinner at Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta. While waiting for my fried rice, I remember staring at each and every memorabilia from my rock and roll heroes. For some strange reason, suddenly I had these particular lyrics from Don McLean's American Pie playing repeatedly in my head at that moment, "do you believe in a rock and roll? Can music save your mortal soul?"

The decoration on the wall, from clothes, musical instruments to verses such as we will rock you or love is all you need, was very inspiring. I just felt like I was in a right place where I belonged. That's when I was converted into a Hard Rock fan. Then it dawned on me how iconic the t-shirt was. It came with the logo and the city where the clothes were from. That alone was a great reminder and a piece of memory that was worth keeping!

A Hard Rock moment in Stonehenge, 2016.

I loved Hard Rock from that moment onwards. With the exception of Yangon (which I found very ironic), I never failed to shop at Hard Rock whenever it was available in the city I visited. I got some for myself, just like the nice leather jacket that kept me warm in freezing London weather, but others, interestingly, were for others. There were times that I thought it'd look good on either my wife or friends, so I got it for them instead. The one below was an example. When we visited Sentosa during the Walking Tour that I organized, I saw this and immediately remember a guitarist friend of mine. He would definitely rock it and true enough, he got the look!

Along with the ancient art of sending postcards, the Hard Rock mini adventure had been the highlight of my trips. Since that fateful night in Jakarta, I had been finding my way to Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris, Singapore and Hong Kong. I'm not entirely sure if this can be categorized as a hobby but if it is ever one, it has been fun, though is unlikely to be completed, haha. Next stop? I don't know, may be Shanghai and Fukuoka? We shall see!

Hardy and his great Hard Rock moment, 2017. 

Kenangan Bersama Hard Rock

Cerita ini bermula di suatu sore, ketika saya mencari tahu tentang lokasi Hard Rock Cafe di negara-negara yang ingin saya kunjungi akhir tahun ini. Setelah itu, saya iseng melihat-lihat lokasi lainnya di Asia dan saat itu pula saya menyadari bahwa ada Hard Rock Cafe di Yangon. Saya tidak tahu sebelumnya, padahal saya sempat mengunjungi Myanmar tahun lalu dan bertemu dengan mantan rekan kerja di Myanmar Plaza, tempat dimana Hard Rock Cafe berada! Rasanya konyol sekali, begitu dekat tapi tidak kesampaian, haha.

Oh ya, sebagai latar belakang cerita, perlu saya beritahukan bahwa saya bukanlah orang yang sangat peduli dengan merek dan model. Lemari pakaian saya hanya berisi sedikit baju-baju yang saya pakai secara bergantian setiap hari sampai usang. Pakaian ini tidak mahal dan tidak pula berasal dari perancang ternama, namun cukup layak untuk dikenakan. Akan tetapi ada sesuatu yang menarik dengan Hard Rock sehingga apa yang saya alami sore itu mengingatkan saya kembali pada saat-saat pertama saya menyukainya.

Nuryani dan saat gembira bersama Hard Rock (serta Troll dan Linda).

Dulu saya tidak peduli dengan yang namanya Hard Rock. Sewaktu saya kerja di Jakarta dan juga saat saya berlibur ke Bali atau Melaka, saya melintasinya begitu saja. Beberapa tahun kemudian, barulah kisah Hard Rock dimulai. Ketika saya dan ayah saya keluar dari Universal Studios di Osaka, ada satu toko Hard Rock tepat di depan kita. Ayah saya ingin membelikan hadiah untuk temannya, jadi saya pun turut masuk dan membelikan satu untuk istri saya juga. Kemudian, di hari terakhir kita di Yokohama, saya juga melihat Hard Rock saat sedang berjalan-jalan di Minato Mirai, jadi saya pun mampir dan membeli sebuah kaos, kali ini untuk teman saya Parno.

Beberapa bulan setelah kunjungan ke Jepang, sebelum saya dan teman-teman menghadiri konser Bon Jovi, kita makan malam di Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta. Saat menunggu nasi goreng yang saya pesan, saya terpana menatap barang-barang peninggalan para pahlawan rock and roll yang saya kagumi. Di saat yang sama, saya seakan mendengar lirik lagu American Pie dari Don McLean dinyanyikan berulang kali dalam benak saya, "do you believe in a rock and roll? Can music save your mortal soul?"

Dekorasi di dinding, mulai dari pakaian, alat musik sampai beraneka lirik seperti we will rock you atau love is all you need, benar-benar sangat menginspirasi, membuat saya merasa bahwa di sinilah saya seharusnya berada. Di saat itu pula saya menjadi seorang penggemar Hard Rock. Saya lantas menyadari bahwa kaosnya sangat khas karena logonya disertai dengan nama kota tempatnya berasal. Ini adalah sebuah suvenir musik yang unik!

Parno berpose di depan Hard Rock Cafe Sentosa, Singapura, 2015. 

Semenjak itu, saya menyukai Hard Rock. Terkecuali Yangon (dan seperti yang anda baca di atas, kisahnya sangat ironis), saya senantiasa mengunjungi Hard Rock di setiap kota yang memiliki cabangnya. Terkadang saya membeli sesuatu untuk saya sendiri, misalnya jaket kulit yang hangat dan cocok untuk cuaca dingin di London. Namun ada kalanya saya menghadiahkannya untuk istri atau teman saya. Yang di bawah ini, misalnya. Sewaktu di Hong Kong, saat saya melihat-lihat koleksi Hard Rock, terpikirkan oleh saya bahwa kaos naga ini sepertinya akan terlihat bagus bila dipakai oleh Harry. Seminggu kemudian, hasilnya... tidak mengecewakan dan dapat jempol, haha. 

Sama halnya dengan kartu pos, petualangan mencari Hard Rock Cafe kini menjadi bagian dari liburan saya. Sejak santap malam di Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta, saya sudah menjelajahi Kuala Lumpur, London, Paris, Singapura dan Hong Kong khusus untuk mencari Hard Rock Cafe. Saya tidak sepenuhnya yakin apakah ini bisa disebut hobi, tapi jikalau bisa, hobi yang satu ini cukup menyenangkan, walau mungkin tidak akan bisa terselesaikan karena Hard Rock Cafe ada di seluruh penjuru dunia, hehe. Tujuan berikutnya? Mungkin Shanghai dan Fukuoka

Harry tampil meyakinkan dengan naga biru Hard Rock. 


Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Sri Lanka Experience

Where will you go for your honeymoon? Maldives and New Zealand are the answers that I often got and I had always thought I would go there as well, but no, and here I was at Sri Lanka.

I could not remember how we decided, or rather I decided (wife gets to decide most of the time 😆) but it was one that I did not regret. We went on nine days trip and we had engaged a private driver that drove us around.

When we arrived on the first day in Negombo, it was past midnight and we just headed straight away to the hotel. On the way to the hotel, it was quite and dark, but we spotted a lot of baby Jesus and mother Mary statues along the way. I was quite surprised as most Sri Lankan are Buddhist. The driver told us that we were in the part of the Catholic community.

A plate of kottu.

We started our day with the local breakfast and we headed out to Dambulla. Made a few stops before we reached the hotel that evening. We were starving that we could eat a horse and fortunately, we found our favourite local food. It was called kottu. It was some sort of prata that was cut into smaller pieces and stir-fried together with vegetables and meats.

We went to Pigeon Island the next day. I saw no pigeon on that island, so I did wonder why. We had a good swim of 15 minutes to the sea together with the beach guard to see a shark. According to him it was friendly shark, so we took our chance and we did see the shark though it was only a second as it swam super fast. We saw a giant turtle as well. Too bad we didn't have time to snap a picture as they were also moving super fast.

On our way to Habarana.

Next stop was the local village in Habarana. In order to get there, we got on the small boat with the two local men. They were kind enough to make us hat from the leaves. Then, we saw the kitchen of the locals and experienced how they cooked. The food was simple but amazing, especially the chili. Oh, we also sat on the cow cart going around the village and witnessed the cow shit right in front of us while walking. Funny experience.

Our ride!

We continued to Minneriya National Park. Such an amazing view of lake with groups of elephants and the weather was nice as well. This was the view that you hardly can see in Singapore, so we took our time to relax and walked around.  

Elephants in Minneriya National Park. 

It was getting more adventurous the next day as we went to Sigiriya, the ancient rock fortress that looks like a lion. We were welcomed with the lion claw on the entrance of the rock. The fortress is about 200 metres high and you have to climbed the little stairs together with the rest of the tourists as well. It was quite an effort but once you reached the top, the view is overwhelming.


At the entrace of the rock fortress.

The structure of the fortress is awesome, how the mirror placing is supposed to distract the enemies who were coming to attack, the number of rooms for the concubines and the the swimming pool size that is humongous. These parts of the story did leave me a deeper impression for some reason.

The view from the top.

The rock fortress from afar.

From the hot Sigiriya, we were moving to the cooling climate. We were heading to the tea plantation and finally the hotel that used to be a tea factory. It is quite high up and it needs to go through many turnings before we got there. A very classic hotel interior with a peaceful view.

The hotel and the tea plantation.

The next day, at dawn about 3.30am, we started from hotel to the World’s End (Horton Plains) pick up point. We were contemplating if we should go as we were told the way up there were quite dangerous but “only” a few accidents happen in a year. But the temptation to trek and the super nice view was our buy in, so here we were, trekking for about 2 hours (including the photo taking time), sitting at the World’s End, a sheer cliff. The journey to the trek base was indeed quite scary. There was mist everywhere and we could not even see what was in front when we were in the car. That is also the reason why, only the real local people in the area are allowed to pick up passengers.

Pattipola entrance towards Horton Plains

The mist...

And the World's End!

We stopped by at the Galle Fort and ended our trip with a relaxing stay in Bentota, famous for the beach. The hotel was rather special. The rooms and the lobby are separated by the river and there is a hotel boat that transfer guests over.

Galle Fort.

The boat that brought us to Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa.

One more country checked in my bucket list!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Gory And The Dead

I'm never a fan of anything gory or lifeless. I find it... unsettling. It's just unfortunate that in the age of social media, such photos are readily available. When I scroll down the news feed on Facebook, sometimes I get the shock of my life thanks to the pictures of poor dogs that were tortured or a bloody person lying half dead. I normally hide such posts so that I don't have to see them again next time. If only I can unsee what I just saw, too!

Recently, a woman from my hometown just passed away. She was young, beautiful and so full of life, but she collapsed and died just like that. Her death became a hot topic in our Pontianak community. In one of the chat groups, suddenly someone let out a picture of the dead body. She was half covered, revealing a blue face with a rather otherworldly expression. The photo could have been taken shortly after she died. It freaked me out and I deleted the photo immediately.

I believe the person who shared the story didn't mean any harm. Sending the picture to go along with the story was, understandably, a spontaneous act. Nevertheless, when it comes to sensitive matters like this, perhaps it's wiser to ask again, is it ethical to do so? I mean, the photo was far from flattering. What was the point, then? If we were to mourn, one way to pay our respect was by not sharing such unglamorous pictures.

If there is a very pressing need to share, for example the urge to vend out the grievance inside one's heart, it certainly can be done in a more sophisticated and presentable way. I remember a photo focusing on the hand of my friend holding her father's hand, which still had a catheter connected to it. The photo came with a simple but poignant caption. It was a powerful image that told us quite a story. I surely could relate with that.

I understand that not everybody can do that, but do note that it's only right to share something decent as a form of respect. A close up picture of a dead man or woman is definitely not something that is to be distributed easily as a public consumption. In a world where a camera phone is within our reach and the world is just one click away, perhaps what we need is to hold back and exercise caution. I reckon that it'll be a better idea to post a picture of him or her smiling while we recall the good things about them and the legacy they leave behind. I'm sure that's how they want to be remembered...

A happier moment in life that is worth remembering, though one of the friends is no longer here today...


Yang Seram Dan Yang Telah Meninggal

Saya tidak pernah menyukai foto-foto yang seram atau makhluk hidup tergeletak tak bernyawa. Secara pribadi saya merasa bahwa foto-foto tersebut sangat mengganggu secara visual. Sayang sekali, di era sosial media seperti sekarang ini, gambar seperti ini justru mudah ditemukan. Ketika saya sedang iseng melihat berita di Facebook, terkadang saya dikejutkan oleh foto-foto seperti anjing yang nyaris mati dianiaya atau orang yang berbaring di kubangan darah dalam kondisi penuh luka. Biasanya saya akan memilih untuk menyembunyikan berita tersebut sehingga tidak lagi muncul di akun saya, namun apa yang baru saja saya lihat ini akan terngiang-ngiang untuk beberapa waktu sebelum saya bisa melupakannya.

Baru-baru ini, seorang wanita meninggal di kampung halaman saya. Dia masih muda, cantik dan penuh semangat hidup, jadi tidak ada yang pernah menyangka bahwa dia akan pingsan dan meninggal begitu saja. Wafatnya wanita ini pun menjadi perbincangan hangat di komunitas orang Pontianak. Tiba-tiba saja, di salah satu grup, ada yang menampilkan foto jasadnya. Badan sang wanita tertutup kain putih, namun mukanya yang membiru masih terlihat dan raut wajahnya susah untuk dijelaskan. Sepertinya foto ini diambil sesaat setelah ia meninggal. Saya kaget saat melihat foto tersebut dan segera saya hapus saat itu juga. 

Saya percaya bahwa orang yang membagikan cerita ini tidak bermaksud buruk. Mungkin karena terlalu antusias bercerita, ia pun spontan mengirimkan foto ini sebagai ilustrasi terkini. Akan tetapi, ketika kita sedang berbicara tentang hal sensitif seperti ini, mungkin ada baiknya kita bertanya lagi, apakah etis untuk berbuat seperti ini? Maksud saya, foto yang dibagikan itu rasanya bukan foto yang ingin kita ingat tentang orang yang meninggal ini, jadi untuk apa? Jika kita ingin berduka, salah satu cara yang bisa kita lakukan sebagai penghormatan terakhir adalah dengan tidak menyebarkan gambar yang menyedihkan dan tidak manusiawi ini.

Jikalau ada perasaan untuk berbagi, misalnya karena ingin mengungkapkan rasa sedih di hati, masih ada cara yang lebih halus dan layak. Saya ingat dengan sebuah foto yang fokus pada tangan teman saya yang menggenggam erat tangan ayahnya yang masih terpasang kateter. Foto itu pun disertai keterangan singkat yang menyentuh. Sebuah gambar bisu, tetapi bercerita banyak tentang pedihnya hati orang yang ditinggal. Saya bisa turut merasakannya dalam sekali pandang.

Saya paham bahwa tidak semua orang bisa menghasilkan foto seperti itu, namun setidaknya tampilkanlah sesuatu yang pantas sebagai wujud dari rasa hormat. Gambar jarak dekat dari orang yang meninggal rasanya bukanlah konsumsi publik, jadi sebaiknya tidak disebarkan. Di dunia di mana telepon genggam berkamera senantiasa terjangkau dan berita bisa mencapai dunia luar dalam sekali unggah, mungkin ada baiknya kita menahan diri dan berpikir ulang sejenak. Akan lebih berkesan jika kita mengirimkan gambar terbaik orang tersebut sambil mengenang hal-hal terbaik darinya. Saya yakin bahwa mereka lebih memilih untuk diingat seperti ini...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Father And Daughter Trip

I can't be to sure if it's just my wicked sense of humor, but I always have this imagination that on the day I am on my deathbed, I'll ask my daughter this, "do you still remember when we had our holiday, just the two of us?" I think that'll be sweet, or perhaps bittersweet, as we may be crying and smiling at the same time. That is why I planned a trip with my daughter Linda. In a world where Mum will always be in our hearts, I just wanted to make sure that my little princess will have a little bit of memories about her Dad.

And the holiday began at Changi Airport!
Photo by Nuryani

I chose Hong Kong as the destination for the father and daughter trip simply because it's the nearest first world country from Singapore. I wasn't very keen on going through anything that was inconvenient. It had to be simple and practical enough for us to enjoy our moments, so Hong Kong was a very logical choice. It'd be a five-day trip, with only three effective days for sightseeing. The first and the last days would be dedicated solely for travelling purpose.

While I obviously didn't mind travelling only with my daughter, I shared the plan exclusively with my high school friends, just in case they'd like to join. It turned out that only Endrico took up the offer. An old friend of mine, his participation was warmly welcome. In fact, his ideas helped to shape the trip, too. I originally planned one theme park per day, but I only had Ocean Park and Disneyland. Endrico was the one who suggested the Peak. Endrico was also more rational when it came to spending (and that was a good thing) whereas I was more of the type that followed my heart in getting things done. Thanks to his effort, we actually saved some money from hotel booking and theme park tickets. Finally, with Endrico around, now I could go to toilet peacefully, knowing that Linda would be safe with someone I knew outside.

When we were in Lok Fu.

Our arrival in Hong Kong was greeted by Endrico's cousin and a rather cold evening. Endrico already had a dinner planned for him, so Linda and I tagged along. We went to this area called Lok Fu and had a glimpse of public housing in Hong Kong. It was unbelievably tiny! That shocking experience aside, the dinner at the shopping mall nearby was good. The dishes kept coming as if there was no end to it! By the time we finished eating, it was almost midnight. My daughter and I eventually made our way to Burlington Hotel in Wan Chai.

When we were in our room, my daughter pulled out her drawing book and sketched what she saw earlier that night in Hong Kong. She remembered what my wife told her to do. Then, for a split second, she looked at me and said that she did miss her Mum and her sister. That was one sweet and innocent moment, really. She might be throwing tantrum at her Mum sometimes, but deep inside her heart, she always loved her. In fact, on the following day, when she was prompted to write something on the Ocean's Park message board by Endrico, she wrote I love Mama.

The kids, having fun at the Ocean Park.
Photo by Endrico Richard.

Endrico and his daughter, Rachel, stayed overnight at his cousin's house. They joined us at Burlington Hotel on the next morning and we visited Ocean Park together. It was great. The kids were fast friends and they got along really well. Linda clearly liked her travel buddy and she often asked me if she could hold Rachel's hand and walk with her. We explored the whole park, from the Giant Panda Adventure, North Pole Encounter (and I saw walrus for the first time here) to Ocean Theatre and Old Hong Kong. We rushed to Quarry Bay station afterwards to meet our friend Eday Ng for dinner and a postcard moment. He showed us around, from funeral home for Leslie Cheung, how to take the tram, to a taste of Hong Kong dessert.

We went to the Victoria Peak on our second day. The Peak Tram Lower Terminus was quite a long walk from Central station. Unlike Rachel who was strong enough to walk on her own for almost the entire trip, Linda would ask me to carry her. Upon seeing this, Endrico taught her that if Dad was ever tired, all Linda had to do was to kiss Dad's cheek so Dad would be recharged. She developed this habit since then. I wouldn't mind a kiss from my daughter, of course. Personally, I even enjoyed the moments of carrying her around. That's when I could have a silly conversation with her such as, "will you still love Papa when you grow up? Because Papa will love you forever."

Posing at the Sky Terrace, the Peak. 

We didn't do much at the Peak. We had our lunch there, took a picture or two with Bruce Lee whom stood in front of Madame Tussauds, visited the Sky Terrace and then, after watching some 3D show about prehistoric fish and dinosaurs, we went back to the city for Jenny Bakery in Sheung Wan. Once we had our dinner nearby Burlington Hotel, we took a cab to Hong Kong station. Oh yeah, prior to this holiday, I didn't know that Endrico was able to speak Cantonese. He could converse rather fluently and according to him, the cab driver was irritated after learning that we just wanted to go to Hong Kong station. He grumbled that the fee four passengers had to pay for the train to airport was almost the same as the taxi charges.

But we didn't go to the airport. We were heading to Disneyland instead. We reached the Disney Hollywood Hotel at around 9pm and the kids immediately had the time of their lives in the bathtub, enjoying the bath bomb made by Angelia. They loved it, but they were visibly annoyed when they saw no toys once the bath bomb melted, haha.

Heading to Disneyland. 
Photo by Rachel.

Came the next day, it was time for the happiest place on earth. Although it paled in comparison with Tokyo Disneyland, the Hong Kong version was quite decent and still fun for a while, until Endrico inadvertently made Linda cry, haha. The rides such as Dumbo, it's a small world, Mystic Manor and many more had a short duration and were kid-friendly. Apart from Winnie the Pooh, the waiting time for other rides was quite alright. My personal favorite was Mickey's Philharmagic. I think the kids would just take it as it was, but I grew up with Mickey, Donald, Aladdin and those cartoon characters. Seeing them again on a big screen did bring back the good memories. By the way, as we couldn't find our way out after Jungle River Cruise, we ended up being there in Disneyland until the theme park was closed.

In hindsight, I am glad that the Hong Kong trip happened the way it was. Just like me, Linda had a good friend and good times throughout the trip. From Endrico, I also learnt that sometimes we had to be very persuasive for the good of our children. While I often make fun of him, in all honesty, I think he's a brilliant father. And for all those moments when we didn't order our meal so that we could finish the leftover from our daughters, it somehow got me thinking about what the mothers went through: sacrificing their own pleasures for the family. Most importantly, I also enjoyed the quality time with my lovely daughter. I always knew that she was a friendly and kind-hearted girl. I adored her curiosity and amusing antics. But to have a firsthand experience of my daughter for almost 24 hours a day? It was like sitting on a front row to watch the greatest show on earth, fully knowing I've been blessed with such a wonderful daughter. Love her, really...

Back to Singapore!
Photo by Endrico Richard. 


Liburan Ayah Dan Anak

Saya tidak sepenuhnya yakin apakah ini dikarenakan oleh selera humor saya yang aneh, tapi saya selalu membayangkan bahwa suatu hari nanti, saya akan bertanya kepada putri saya seperti ini di kala saya menjelang saat-saat terakhir saya, "apakah kamu masih ingat saat kita liburan berdua?" Saya kira itu akan menjadi kenangan terakhir yang manis, atau mungkin pahit dan manis, karena kita mungkin tersenyum dan menangis pada saat yang bersamaan. Karena itulah saya merencanakan liburan bersama putri saya Linda. Di dunia dimana seorang ibu akan selalu berada di hati kita, saya ingin memastikan bahwa putri saya memiliki sedikit kenangan tentang ayahnya.

Saya memilih Hong Kong sebagai tempat tujuan untuk liburan ayah dan anak karena Hong Kong adalah negara maju yang paling dekat jaraknya dengan Singapura. Saya tidak berminat untuk menjalani segala macam kerumitan yang tidak perlu. Liburan ini harus sesederhana dan sepraktis mungkin bagi kita untuk dinikmati, jadi Hong Kong adalah pilihan yang logis. Liburan ini akan memakan waktu lima hari dengan total tiga hari yang efektif untuk berjalan-jalan. Hari pertama dan terakhir akan sepenuhnya dimanfaatkan untuk penerbangan ke dan dari Hong Kong.

Linda dan Rachel di MTR menuju Ocean Park. 

Walau saya tentu saja tidak keberatan untuk bepergian hanya berdua saja dengan putri saya, saya menawarkan rencana ini kepada teman-teman sekolah, kalau-kalau ada satu atau dua di antara mereka yang berminat. Ternyata hanya Endrico yang turut serta. Seorang teman dari sejak dulu kala, partisipasinya tentu saja disambut dengan hangat. Ide-idenya bermanfaat bagi liburan ini. Dari sejak awal saya berpikir bahwa kita hanya akan mengunjungi satu wahana per hari, tapi saat itu saya hanya memiliki Ocean Park dan Disneyland dalam daftar saya. Sempat terpikirkan bahwa kita mungkin akan ke Ngong Ping, tapi saya tidak terlalu yakin. Endrico pun mengusulkan the Peak. Hal baik lainnya adalah Endrico lebih rasional dalam menekan pengeluaran sementara saya adalah tipe yang lebih mengikuti kata hati. Karena upayanya, kita jadi lebih hemat dalam biaya hotel dan karcis masuk ke wahana. Hal lain yang juga tidak kalah pentingnya, dengan adanya Endrico, sekarang saya bisa ke toilet dengan tenang karena ada yang menjaga Linda di luar. 

Ketibaan kita di Hong Kong disambut oleh sepupu Endrico dan malam yang dingin. Saudara-saudara Endrico sudah merencanakan perjamuan makan untuknya, jadi Linda dan saya pun diajak untuk bergabung. Dari bandara, kita menuju ke daerah bernama Lok Fu dan berkesempatan untuk melihat rumah susun di Hong Kong. Ruangannya luar biasa sempit! Setelah pengalaman yang mengejutkan itu, kita pergi ke restoran di dekat tempat tinggal mereka. Makanan demi makanan terus disajikan tiada henti. Ketika kita selesai makan, malam sudah larut. Saya baru sampai di Burlington Hotel yang terletak di kawasan Wan Chai saat menjelang tengah malam.

Saat Endrico dan Rachel tiba di Burlington Hotel. 

Sewaktu kita berada di kamar, putri saya mengambil buku menggambar dan mulai melukis apa yang barusan dilihatnya. Dia ingat dan melakukan apa yang telah dipesan mamanya. Selagi menggambar, dia memandang saya sejenak dan berkata bahwa dia merindukan ibu dan adiknya. Saya tertegun dan tersenyum melihat betapa polosnya dia. Meski Linda kadang menggerutu tentang ibunya, di dalam hatinya, dia selalu menyayanginya. Ketika Endrico menyuruhnya menulis sesuatu di papan tulisan di Ocean Park, yang Linda tulis adalah saya sayang Mama.  

Endrico dan putrinya Rachel bermalam di rumah sepupunya. Mereka datang ke Burlington Hotel pada keesokan paginya dan barulah kita berangkat bersama-sama ke Ocean Park. Anak-anak dengan cepat berkawan akrab. Linda jelas menyukai teman seperjalanannya dan seringkali ia bertanya apakah ia boleh berjalan bergandengan tangan dengan Rachel. Kita menjelajahi Ocean Park sepanjang hari, mulai dari Giant Panda Adventure, North Pole Encounter (dan saya pertama kali melihat walrus di sini) sampai Ocean Theatre dan Old Hong Kong. Saat malam tiba, kita menuju ke stasiun Quarry Bay untuk bertemu dengan Eday Ng. Kita dijamu makan oleh tuan rumah kita ini, lalu kita pun menuliskan sesuatu di kartu pos untuk seorang teman. Dari Quarry Bay, Eday membawa kita melihat-lihat Hong Kong, mulai dari rumah duka Leslie Cheung, cara menaiki kereta listrik, sampai jajanan lokal Hong Kong.

Menikmati hidangan pencuci mulut bersama warga Hong Kong.
Photo oleh Endrico Richard. 

Kita berangkat ke Victoria Peak pada hari berikutnya. Peak Tram Lower Terminus, tempat kita menaiki kereta yang mendaki ke atas, cukup jauh jaraknya dari stasiun Central. Rachel cukup kuat untuk berjalan jauh, tapi Linda masih sering minta digendong. Saat melihat kebiasaan Linda ini, Endrico pun mengajarkan apa yang harus dilakukan Linda jika ayahnya terlihat lelah: Linda harus mencium pipi Papa dan niscaya Papa akan segar kembali. Hal ini sekarang menjadi kebiasaan Linda. Saya sendiri tidak keberatan mendapat kecupan di pipi dari putri saya. Secara pribadi, saya bahkan menyukai saat-saat menggendongnya. Di kala inilah biasanya saya bertanya, "saat sudah dewasa nanti, apakah Linda masih akan menyayangi Papa? Sebab Papa akan menyayangimu selamanya."

Tidak banyak yang kita lakukan di Victoria Peak. Kita makan siang di sana, berfoto bersama Bruce Lee yang berdiri di depan Madame Tussauds, naik ke Sky Terrace dan setelah menyaksikan tontonan 3D tentang ikan purba dan dinosaurus, kita bergegas kembali ke kota dan membeli beberapa kaleng Jenny Bakery di Sheung Wan. Sesudah itu, kita makan malam di dekat Burlington Hotel dan naik taksi ke stasiun Hong Kong. Oh ya, sebelum liburan ini, saya tidak tahu bahwa Endrico bisa berbahasa Kanton. Dia bisa berbicara dengan lancar dan menurut Endrico, supir taksi itu agak jengkel saat mengetahui bahwa kita hanya menuju ke stasiun Hong Kong. Dia mengomel bahwa biaya yang harus dibayar empat orang untuk menaiki kereta ke bandara sebenarnya hampir sama dengan ongkos taksi.

Di Disney Hollywood Hotel. 

Akan tetapi kita tidak menuju ke bandara. Kita pergi ke Disneyland dan tiba di Disney Hollywood Hotel sekitar jam sembilan malam. Anak-anak pun bergembira-ria di bak mandi, menikmati garam mandi yang dibuat oleh Angelia. Mereka menyukainya, tapi terlihat kesal saat menyadari bahwa garam mandi tersebut tidak berisi mainan seperti yang sering mereka lihat di Youtube, haha. 

Di hari berikutnya, kita mengunjungi tempat paling gembira di dunia. Walau tidak sebagus Disneyland Tokyo, versi Hong Kong ini cukup terasa riang dan menyenangkan, sampai Endrico tidak sengaja membuat Linda menangis, haha. Dumbo, it's a small world, Mystic Manor dan wahana serupa lainnya berdurasi pendek dan cocok untuk anak-anak. Kecuali Winnie the Pooh, waktu tunggunya pun tidak lama. Favorit saya adalah Mickey's Philharmagic. Saya rasa anak-anak mungkin menganggapnya sebagai tontonan biasa, tapi saya tumbuh menyaksikan Mickey, Donald, Aladdin dan tokoh-tokoh kartun lainnya. Bisa melihat semua karakter ini lagi di layar lebar sungguh membawa kembali kenangan indah di masa lalu. Setelah menyusuri sungai dalam wahana Jungle River Cruise, kita menemui jalan buntu sehingga harus berputar balik dan akhirnya baru keluar setelah Disneyland tutup.

Rachel dan Linda berpose di depan istana Cinderella.
Photo oleh Endrico Richard. 

Kalau dilihat kembali, saya bersyukur bahwa perjalanan ke Hong Kong terjadi sebagaimana mestinya. Seperti saya, Linda pun memiliki teman untuk berbagi cerita di sepanjang perjalanan. Dari Endrico, saya juga belajar tentang perlunya membujuk anak demi kebaikan mereka. Walau dia sering menjadi bulan-bulanan lelucon saya, dengan rendah hati saya akui bahwa dia adalah ayah yang hebat. Untuk setiap jam makan dimana kita tidak memesan makanan kita sendiri supaya bisa menghabiskan sisa makanan anak, saya jadi teringat dengan para ibu, terutama tentang pengorbanan mereka untuk keluarga. Yang paling penting lagi adalah saat-saat bersama putri saya. Saya tahu dia sangat ramah dan baik hati. Saya juga mengagumi rasa ingin tahu dan juga sifatnya yang jenaka. Liburan di Hong Kong bersama Linda selama hampir 24 jam per hari bagaikan duduk di kursi depan sebuah pertunjukan paling seru di dunia! Di waktu yang sama, saya juga menyadari bahwa saya telah diberkati dengan seorang putri yang menakjubkan. Sungguh sebuah pengalaman yang luar biasa...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Wonderful Indonesia: East Java

I had a glimpse of East Java many years ago in 2004. I remember it was kind of dry and it got me thinking that the paddy fields in West Java was greener. I remember rawon, easily my favorite stew since I first had it in Jember. I remember towns such as Blitar, Banyuwangi, Situbondo, Probolinggo and many more as I crisscrossed East Java during my road trip from Jakarta to Bali back then. I remember the majestic Bromo, the only place in East Java that we meant to visit. It didn't disappoint. We were there just for a while, but the view was memorable.

It was only nine years later that I had a proper visit to East Java. Endrico and I planned a trip to Surabaya in 2013 to visit our old friend Jimmy. Setia was keen, so he tagged along. Then, much to our surprise, Alfan expressed his interest to join, too. We flew separately to our destination. Endrico went the night before. Setia and I flew together from Singapore. We were not only on the same flight with my colleague Mega, but also sat next to her. Alfan was the last to arrive. Due to heavy rain, the plane he took actually made a detour to Bali and landed there instead! After a few hours of unexpected transit, he eventually reached Surabaya and met us in Novotel later that night.

Setia and Alfan, posing in front of Rawon Setan.
Photo by Endrico Richard.

We wasted no time in exploring the city. We had Rawon Setan and visited Tunjungan Plaza on the same night. The famous cuisine was overrated, I'm afraid, but it was good to have rawon again. As for the mall, it was quite an old fashioned one, a typical shopping centre in Indonesia. We also asked the cab driver to drive through Dolly, the famous red light district, strictly for sightseeing purpose. It was like a shanty town, very rundown and quite scary.

The next morning, we checked out from Novotel and went with Jimmy to Malang, a town roughly about two hours ride from Surabaya. Things were a bit of a blur from here onwards. Frankly speaking, I had no idea where Malang ended and Batu began. These two towns were like Siamese Twins! We were checking into Harris Hotel in Malang when we arrived and the next thing I knew, we were somewhere in Batu. I vaguely recalled the apple farm that we failed to visit, either we were too late or it wasn't open on that day. Then there was Selecta, a flower garden with cool weather. Not bad for a short visit. From there, we headed to Batu Night Spectacular, a local funfair. Suddenly we were kids again, playing games such as bumper cars, go-kart and laser tag. The night was closed with Bakso President, a local delicacy with an interesting location: it was actually next to an active railway, a reminder that every meal could be your last meal!

Go-kart time in Batu.
Photo owned by Endrico Richard.

On the following day, we headed back to Surabaya. Apart from stopping by a bee farm, we also had an impromptu visit to Taman Safari Indonesia 2. It was here that we had an unforgettable moment: while we were on the way out from this animal theme park, Jimmy told us a legendary story that was unsurpassed even by the man himself since then: when he was in Kuching, he ever jumped into a crocodile pond just to win a bet! That was very Jimmy and it definitely sounded like something that he'd do, so there wasn't any doubt about it.

We reached Surabaya in the afternoon and visited House of Sampoerna before Jimmy dropped us at Mercure. The museum was a grand testament that hard work could be rewarding sometimes. It was very encouraging to see how the founder of the cigarette empire actually started things on his bike. That very night, we went to Surabaya Town Square, a giant shopping mall that adopted a semi open concept. Kind of cool and it was filled up with youngsters!

Setia and the animals from Taman Safari Indonesia 2.
Photo by Endrico Richard.

We flew back home on the next day. Jimmy sent us back to airport, but as our flight was in the afternoon, we still got enough time to run some errands. I remember buying Ayam Goreng Pemuda for my wife, then we visited some housing estates while Jimmy was briefing us about investment. He was very enthusiastic about money making and had only little or no time at all for anything sentimental, so we heard a lot about stock trading and property business from him.

Overall, East Java is a great place to be. Surabaya is a good place to start, it is almost as big as Jakarta, but not as jammed. From here, one can go to nearby towns such as Malang, Batu or even Bromo. There is also a popular domestic theme park called Jatim Park. I've heard a lot of good reviews about it. Food-wise, with cuisines such as rawon (a localised beef stew), bakso Malang (meatball noodles soup) and ayam penyet (smashed fried chicken), you certainly can't go wrong!

When Jimmy explained about the investment.
Photo by Endrico Richard.


Indonesia Yang Menakjubkan: Jawa Timur

Di tahun 2004, saya berkesempatan untuk melihat Jawa Timur untuk pertama kalinya. Saat itu saya sempat berpikir dalam hati bahwa daerahnya lebih kering bila dibandingkan dengan Jawa Barat yang hijau sawahnya. Saya ingat dengan rawon yang segera menjadi makanan favorit saya sejak saya menyantapnya di Jember. Saya ingat dengan kota-kota seperti Blitar, Banyuwangi, Situbondo, Probolinggo dan masih banyak lagi saat saya melintasi Jawa Timur dalam perjalanan darat dari Jakarta ke Bali. Saya juga ingat dengan Bromo yang menakjubkan, satu-satunya tempat yang memang ingin kita kunjungi dalam perjalanan pulang dari Bali ke Jakarta. Kita mampir hanya sebentar saja di sana, tetapi Bromo tidak akan terlupakan sepanjang masa. 

Saya baru mendapat kesempatan untuk berkunjung lagi ke Jawa Timur sembilan tahun kemudian. Kali ini kita berencana mengunjungi Surabaya, Malang dan Batu, tiga kota yang belum pernah saya singgahi sebelumnya. Endrico dan saya memiliki seorang teman lama bernama Jimmy dan kita memang berniat untuk bertemu lagi dengannya setelah sekian lama. Setia juga tertarik untuk ikut berlibur, jadi dia pun turut serta. Yang lebih mengejutkan lagi, Alfan juga berminat. Akhirnya kita pun berangkat secara terpisah. Endrico terbang di malam sebelumnya dari Jakarta. Saya dan Setia berangkat dari Singapura dan secara kebetulan duduk bersebelahan dengan Mega, kolega saya yang berasal dari Surabaya. Alfan tiba paling akhir dan menyusul ke Novotel. Ternyata pesawat yang ia tumpangi malah mendarat di Bali karena cuaca buruk di Surabaya dan baru bertolak lagi beberapa jam kemudian! 

Naik kuda untuk pertama kalinya di Bromo.

Setelah berkumpul di hotel, kita pun keluar untuk berjalan-jalan. Di malam itu kita menikmati Rawon Setan dan berjalan kaki dari sana ke Tunjungan Plaza setelah makan malam. Kalau ditanya soal rasa, saya kira Rawon Setan tidaklah seistimewa yang saya bayangkan. Tunjungan Plaza juga mirip pusat perbelanjaan lama yang bisa dijumpai di berbagai tempat di Indonesia. Yang sedikit berbeda adalah kunjungan ke Dolly, daerah pelacuran yang terkenal di Surabaya. Saat itu kita meminta supir taksi melintasi kawasan tersebut supaya kita tahu seperti apa yang namanya Dolly itu. Ternyata tempatnya sangat kumuh dan agak seram. 

Di pagi berikutnya, kita berangkat bersama Jimmy ke kota Malang yang berjarak kira-kira dua jam perjalananan dari Surabaya. Jujur saya katakan, saya tidak begitu mengerti apa beda Malang dan Batu. Kedua kota ini bersebelahan dan susah dibedakan. Setibanya di tujuan, kita langsung ke Hotel Harris di Malang dan beberapa saat kemudian, kita sudah berada di suatu tempat di Batu! Samar-samar saya ingat dengan kebun apel yang gagal kita kunjungi, mungkin karena tidak buka di hari tersebut. Setelah itu ada Selecta, taman bunga dengan cuaca sejuk dan nyaman, sangat cocok untuk kunjungan satu atau dua jam. Dari sana, kita bertolak ke Batu Night Spectacular, semacam pasar malam lokal. Di malam itu kita bermain lagi dengan kegembiraan seorang bocah dan bertualang dari satu wahana ke  wahana lain, mulai dari bom bom car, go-kart sampai tembak-tembakan. Malam tersebut akhirnya ditutup dengan Bakso President, tempat makan unik yang berlokasi persis di samping rel kereta api yang masih aktif. Kalau tidak hati-hati, bakso Malang ini bisa menjadi santapan terakhir anda!

Sebelum acara tembak-tembakan.
Foto milik Endrico Richard.

Keesokan harinya, kita kembali ke Surabaya. Kita sempat berhenti sejenak di peternakan lebah dan juga mampir secara mendadak ke Taman Safari Indonesia 2. Saat kita keluar dari sana, Jimmy pun bercerita tentang sebuah pengalaman yang tidak tertandingi oleh siapa pun: sewaktu di Kuching, dia pernah melompat ke kandang buaya untuk memenangkan taruhan. Kalau anda kenal Jimmy, tindakan ini terdengar persis seperti sesuatu yang berani ia lakukan, jadi tidak ada alasan untuk meragukannya! 

Kita tiba di Surabaya saat hari menjelang sore dan Jimmy pun mengantar kita ke Mercure setelah kunjungan ke House of Sampoerna. Museum rokok ini adalah bukti nyata bahwa kerja keras kadang bisa membuahkan hasil yang tidak terduga. Ada perasaan tergugah saat melihat bahwa bisnis raksasa ini awalnya dimulai oleh pemiliknya yang bersepeda ke sana kemari. Di malam harinya, kita pun keluar lagi, kali ini kita mengunjungi Surabaya Town Square, sebuah pusat perbelanjaan modern dengan konsep gedung terbuka. Tempat ini penuh dengan anak-anak muda! 

Alfan, Jimmy and Setia di peternakan lebah.

Kita pulang di hari berikutnya. Jimmy menyempatkan diri untuk mengantar kita ke bandara, namun karena penerbangan kita cukup siang, kita masih ada waktu untuk mengerjakan hal lainnya. Setelah membeli Ayam Goreng Pemuda yang terkenal di Surabaya, selanjutnya kita pun mengunjungi perumahan yang sedang dibangun. Sepanjang perjalanan, Jimmy bercerita panjang-lebar tentang investasi, mulai dari jual-beli saham sampai bisnis properti, jadi kita pun belajar banyak darinya.

Secara keseluruhan, Jawa Timur adalah tempat yang menarik untuk didatangi. Surabaya cocok sebagai titik awal perjalanan. Kotanya hampir sebesar Jakarta, tapi tidak terlalu macet. Dari Surabaya, kita bisa bepergian ke kota-kota lainnya seperti Malang Batu atau bahkan Bromo. Di sana juga terdapat wahana rekreasi populer yang bernama Jatim Park. Dari apa yang saya dengar, ini tempat yang sangat bagus untuk liburan keluarga. Dari segi makanan, Jawa Timur menawarkan rawon, bakso Malang dan ayam penyet, jadi dijamin tidak mengecewakan! 

Jimmy berpose di Selecta.
Foto oleh Endrico Richard.