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Friday, January 31, 2020

Before It's Too Late...

My colleague told me last Friday that a guy we knew suddenly passed away. He was only 36. I was sorry to hear that, but it also reminded me that people younger than me died these days, even those who looked physically healthy. Oh yes, that young man was much fitter than me. 

Life is unpredictable, alright, but that had been discussed before. What I was thinking this round was the good memories we would normally talk about during the funeral of a friend. What if we didn't wait until then? What if we shared what we remembered fondly with the said people, while they were alive? Appreciation is always a rare commodity, so it'll be nice to hear a little bit of it from time to time.

The chat group friends: when we met and hung out. 

Now, we have this chat group for high school friends and it is busy everyday. The only quiet moment was, perhaps, when WhatsApp was down! I believe there is a certain degree of closeness after having the group for easily the past five years, so I personally invited some members to write a thing or two about other friends in the group. I mean, you couldn't be interacting with people on daily basis without learning something good out of them, could you? Hence I encouraged them to think and write those down, so I could compile them into one. 

Much to my surprise, the list of people that had given good influences to others turned out to be quite similar, regardless who the respondents were. The first name that came in and would reappear few more times was Endrico. AH, an old friend of Endrico, cherished the good time he had when he visited Singapore for the first time. Endrico was his guide and photographer for the whole day.


On a deeper level, HH shared about how the easy-going Endrico changed his life. When HH was a boy, he used to think friendship was something superficial that was based on a materialistic relationship. He was from a poor family, therefore he was so insecure and skeptical that people would genuinely befriend him. Then came Endrico who dressed so casually. He was even wearing torn clothes at times! And Endrico called him friend. That's when HH learnt one philosophy that would shape his life: one doesn't have to care too much about prestige because life is about humility. 

But Endrico wasn't only defined by what he wore (or what he failed to wear, since he actually came from a well-to-do family). To JS, Endrico might be a friend he knew only since high school, but he generously described the man as: innocent, honest and doesn't know how to get angry. JS didn't just make it up, of course. He shared with me that when life was hard and unkind, Endrico was there for him. I happened to know this episode, too, so I could only smile when JS emphasised on Endrico's trust and help. It revealed a glimpse of Endrico that wasn't known by many.


I could go on and on as I still had other good feedback from our friends, but I reckon Endrico would be grinning cheekily by now as he reads this. Let's move on to another friend named Jimmy. YL thought Jimmy was a very realistic person. MC admired his willingness to share his life experience candidly with others. H (not HH) also had a similar opinion and he said Jimmy had a way in leading friends to a better path.

I could relate with what they said above, because I know Jimmy often said the hard truth that got us thinking. It's like putting us on the spot. We knew it was true and if we didn't do it, it was only because we were too stubborn to change for the better. Then you'd see us making excuses, haha.


Other friends were lovingly mentioned as well. JS thought highly of Eday since high school, for everything he touched always turned into an extremely fine piece of art. He remembered him as the smiley one, inseparable from his girlfriend as if the world was theirs. Then of course as JS reminisced, the adventurous time they spent in Temajoh came up, too. As time went by, Eday became the artist of our generation, one that we're really proud of. 

Another name that appeared was Muliady. There was this life-changing experience told by HH. Once upon a time, HH's motorbike broke down while he was with Mul. The young boys didn't have enough money, so when the problem was fixed by the kind mechanic, they were simply told to come back and pay next time. They could have run away, never to return again, but Mul said the mechanic had trusted them and they should honor the trust. These words left a lasting impression. Honesty would eventually become the foundation of business built by HH.


Rudy came up next. An old friend since kindergarten, he was described by JS as a friend who had no idea how to be arrogant. Throughout our school days, he was probably the only rich man's son that was bullied like any of his average peers. JS shared with me that once upon a time, during a rainy day, he was picked up by a Toyota Corolla. That was probably the first time JS ever hitched a ride on a sedan! Rudy was a good friend and an excellent example of a humble man. 

Then of course there was Parno. He was mentioned because of his happy-go-lucky character. MC was amused by the fact that Parno was never offended, even though he had been the butt of the jokes for his entire existence in the chat group (to be honest, I would say he'd been the victim for his entire life). AA also had the same sentiment. Parno didn't seem to care about what people said. He just laughed about it.


Two people weren't actually in our chat group, but they were specifically named by the respondents. The first one was Heriyanto. HH said as far as he could remember, Heriyanto wasn't a brilliant student. His story began after college, when he joined the insurance company. He was quick to become a legend that we would hear about, but HH was only impressed by the man after their met again for the first time in a long while. HH learnt a lot from Heriyanto, from thinking out of the box, risk-taking, having a bigger hope and more. Heriyanto was his role model as businessman.

The second one, the only female that was ever included here, was Susi. She was sincere and reliable. She was a shoulder to cry on and all your secrets would be safe with her. She would sacrifice herself for others and she kept her own problems to herself as she didn't want to burden others. In short, she was a blessing for those whom she called friends.


And that was a heartfelt summary from WT. I genuinely think that while we never expected this, it's always good to know that we had touched lives through what we had said and done. And yes, when I said we, I received some inputs about me, too. They were nice and very affirming. I'll keep most of them to myself, but I'd share with you this one, for it was so funny and poignant at the same time. It really captured the essence of who I was and what I had become. 

What you are going to read were was from HH and it was re-told as closely as possible in English: 
"Since our days of studying at Longman English Course, you were always a cheeky kid that bullied me by poking my head with your finger. When we met again in Secondary School, you were brave enough to have your own style, even though it was different than others. You were even more confident in High School, despite the fact that your style was so uncool. You sang in front of the class. You had idols that weren't from our generation. You weren't embarrassed to try and fail in order to get what you wanted. And that changed me. Now I also never give up trying, even though it takes years to succeed. I am no longer shy to be different. You had made it fine for me to be myself."

That was easily one of the nicest things I ever read about myself. Thank you very much...

Sebelum Terlambat

Jumat lalu, rekan kerja saya mengabarkan bahwa seorang kenalan kami tiba-tiba meninggal. Umurnya baru 36. Saya turut berduka, namun kabar itu juga mengingatkan kembali bahwa kini orang yang lebih muda dari saya pun meninggal, padahal kelihatan sehat-sehat saja. Oh ya, kenalan ini secara fisik terlihat jauh lebih bugar dan sering berolahraga daripada saya. 

Hidup memang tidak bisa diperkirakan, namun ini sudah pernah dibahas sebelumnya. Apa yang terlintas di benak saya kali ini adalah bagaimana kita terkadang mengenang teman yang telah pergi saat kita duduk di rumah duka. Bagaimana jika kita tidak menunggu hingga hari itu tiba? Bagaimana bila kita justru mengungkapkan apa yang kita rasakan kepada teman-teman, selagi yang bersangkutan masih hidup? Apresiasi biasanya jarang diberikan, jadi pastilah bagus rasanya bila sesekali kita mendengar atau membaca hal yang baik ini.

Teman-teman grup chat: ketika kita bertemu dan berkumpul.

Kita memiliki grup WhatsApp khusus untuk teman-teman SMA. Grup ini senantiasa sibuk selalu. Bila grup ini hening, maka kemungkinan besar dikarenakan WhatsApp sedang bermasalah! Saya percaya bahwa dalam lima tahun terakhir ini tentunya persahabatan yang terjalin kembali lewat grup ini pun bertambah akrab, jadi saya undang beberapa teman untuk menulis tentang teman lainnya. Maksud saya itu, kita pasti mempelajari sesuatu yang baik lewat interaksi dengan teman yang begitu rutin di grup, jadi saya mendorong mereka untuk menuliskan kesan mereka untuk saya gabungkan jadi satu di sini. 

Saya tertegun ketika melihat masukan dari teman-teman. Orang-orang yang memberikan pengaruh positif di grup ternyata hampir sama. Nama yang pertama masuk dan muncul lagi beberapa kali adalah Endrico. AH, teman lama Endrico, mengenang saat dia mengunjungi Singapura untuk pertama kalinya. Saat itu Endrico menjadi pemandu dan fotografernya sepanjang hari.


Pengaruh Endrico yang lebih mendalam lagi diceritakan oleh HH. Ketika HH masih remaja, dia adalah seorang yang rendah diri. Dia berpikir bahwa persahabatan itu dinilai dari uang. Karena berasal dari keluarga tidak mampu, maka tidak ada gunanya bergaul dengan teman. Namun Endrico berteman dengannya. Lebih dari itu, Endrico sangat santai penampilannya, bahkan terkadang memakai baju yang robek. Dari situlah HH belajar prinsip hidup sederhana dan tidak perlu gengsi. 

Tapi kepribadian Endrico bukan cuma ditentukan oleh apa yang dia pakai (atau apa yang sepatutnya ia kenakan, mengingat dia berasal dari kalangan berada). Bagi JS, Endrico mungkin teman yang baru ia kenal sejak SMA, namun dia dengan menggebu-gebu mendeskripsikannya sebagai orang yang polos, jujur dan lupa caranya marah karena begitu penyabar. JS lalu bercerita tentang masa dimana hidupnya dirundung kesulitan dan Endrico hadir untuk membantunya. Saya tahu cerita ini, jadi saya hanya tersenyum saat JS menekankan tentang kepercayaan dan pertolongan Endrico padanya. Ini adalah sisi Endrico yang mungkin tidak diketahui oleh banyak orang.


Masih ada lagi kesan tentang Endrico dari teman-teman lain, namun saya kira cukup sampai di sini. Mari bercerita tentang teman berikutnya yang bernama Jimmy. Menurut YL, Jimmy adalah seorang yang sangat realistis, terutama saat berbicara tentang uang. MC mengagumi keterbukaannya dalam berbagi pengalaman hidup. H (bukan HH) juga memiliki pendapat yang sama dan dia berkata bahwa Jimmy mempunyai kebiasaan untuk menuntun teman ke arah yang lebih baik. 

Saya bisa memahami apa yang mereka katakan di atas, sebab saya tahu Jimmy sering menyampaikan kebenaran yang membuat kita berpikir. Apa yang dikatakannya sangat sulit disangkal karena memang benar. Kita tahu itu, namun terkadang tidak kita kerjakan, mungkin karena kita merasa keras kepala atau sudah terlalu nyaman untuk berubah. Biasanya kita lantas mencari-cari alasan, haha.


Nama Eday pun tidak luput dari pembicaraan. Dari sejak SMA, apa pun yang Eday kerjakan selalu menjadi karya seni yang menarik perhatian. JS mengenang Eday sebagai pria yang selalu senyum-senyum dan menikmati dunia yang bagaikan hanya diciptakan untuk dia dan pacarnya pada waktu itu. Kemudian petualangan ke Temajoh pun kembali disebut saat JS bernostalgia. Di hari ini, Eday menjadi seniman kebanggaan angkatan kita. 

Nama lain yang juga muncul adalah Muliady. HH berbagi satu pengalaman bersama Muliady yang mengubah hidupnya. Suatu ketika, motor HH mogok saat ia tengah membonceng Mul. Dua anak muda ini tidak mempunyai cukup uang untuk membayar biaya reparasi, tapi montir yang membantu mereka berbaik hati dan mempersilahkan mereka untuk melunasi pembayaran di lain hari. Mereka bisa saja kabur dan tidak kembali lagi, tapi Mul mengatakan bahwa montir itu sudah menolong, bahkan mempercayai mereka, maka mereka pun harus menghargai kepercayaan yang telah diberikan. Apa yang Mul ucapkan senantiasa membekas di hati HH. Nilai kejujuran yang tertanam itu lantas menjadi fondasi bisnisnya di kemudian hari.


Rudy adalah nama berikutnya. Seorang teman dari sejak TK, JS beranggapan bahwa Rudy adalah teman yang tidak tahu cara untuk menyombongkan diri. Selama bersekolah, dia  mungkin satu-satunya anak orang kaya yang seringkali menjadi korban keisengan teman-teman lainnya. JS juga berkisah tentang suatu hari di kala hujan, ada Toyota Corolla yang menepi dan menjemputnya ke sekolah. Itu mungkin pertama kalinya JS naik sedan. Rudy adalah seorang teman sekaligus contoh yang luar biasa dalam hal kerendahan hati. 

Dan tentu saja Parno pun tidak terlewatkan karena sifatnya yang selalu ceria. MC merasa terkesan dengan fakta bahwa Parno tidak pernah tersinggung, meski selalu diejek di grup (kalau boleh saya tambahkan, Parno selalu menjadi korban lelucon sepanjang hidupnya, bukan saja di grup). AA juga merasakan hal serupa. Parno sepertinya tidak terpengaruh oleh cemooh banyak orang. Dia senantiasa turut tertawa.


Dua orang berikut ini sebenarnya tidak ada di group, namun ternyata disebut juga oleh responden. Yang pertama adalah Heriyanto. Seingat HH, teman yang satu ini tidaklah terlalu hebat di masa SMA. Ceritanya baru bermula setelah dia usai kuliah, ketika ia bergabung dengan perusahaan asuransi. Karirnya melejit dan Heriyanto pun menjadi legenda. Namun apa yang sering terdengar tidaklah sedahsyat apa yang HH alami saat bertemu dengan orangnya secara langsung. Dari Heriyanto, HH belajar tentang pola pikir yang berbeda, keberanian dalam mengambil resiko, bermimpi tentang harapan yang lebih besar dan masih banyak lagi. Heriyanto adalah teladan baginya dalam dunia bisnis. 

Yang kedua, satu-satunya wanita yang muncul di artikel ini, adalah Susi. Orangnya tulus dan bisa diandalkan, setia kawan dan bisa menyimpan curahan hati kawan. Berteman dengannya merupakan berkat dan rezeki. Dia tipe yang berani mengorbankan diri bagi teman dan tidak mau merepotkan orang lain dengan masalahnya.


Dan demikianlah tulisan yang tulus dari WT. Meski kita tidak mengharapkan pujian, ada kesan tersendiri saat kita tahu bahwa apa yang kita katakan dan perbuat ternyata membawa perubahan yang lebih baik untuk teman-teman kita. Dan ya, ketika saya menggunakan kata kita, itu berarti saya juga menerima masukan tentang diri saya. Apa yang saya baca sungguh menyentuh. Saya tidak akan bercerita panjang lebar tentang apa yang telah ditulis oleh teman-teman, namun saya ingin berbagi yang satu ini kepada pembaca. Tulisan ini lucu dan benar adanya serta merangkum seperti apa saya sebenarnya. 

Apa yang akan anda baca ini adalah tulisan HH yang saya benahi sedikit tata bahasanya: 
Dari semenjak kursus Bahasa Inggris di Longman, kau termasuk anak yang banyak gaya. Kau suka usil, menekan pelipis dan kepala saya dengan tangan. Lalu, setelah lama tak bertemu, di masa SMP, kau berani memiliki style sendiri, berbeda dengan kebanyakan orang yang hanya ikut gaya orang lain. Kau percaya diri dengan gaya yang agak norak bagi anak SMA. Kau berani bernyanyi di depan kelas dan punya tokoh idola yang tak umum untuk zaman itu. Kau juga tak malu berusaha untuk meraih keinginanmu, walaupun gagal berkali-kali. Berbeda sekali dengan saya. Sikapmu mengubah hidup saya. Sekarang saya punya prinsip, berani bangkit lagi walaupun gagal, tidak menyerah dan bersabar menunggu hasil walaupun butuh waktu bertahun-tahun. Saya juga kini tidak malu meskipun berbeda. Kau membantu saya menemukan jati diri."

Dan saya rasa ini adalah salah satu hal paling berkesan yang pernah saya baca tentang diri saya. Sungguh saya berterima kasih atas masukannya yang mengena...

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Tour De Java: Solo And Beyond

After sending Budiman to the airport, our journey continued with lunch at Mbok Berek. We soon learnt that not even three adults and one kid could finish a whole fried chicken, haha. In fact, I lost my appetite when I realized the chicken's head was facing me. Once we're done, we drove to Kaliurang to meet my old buddy Soedjoko

It was the first time I visited his house in Yogyakarta. It was bloody spacious! He had two plots of land that made up 5,000 metre square! We sat nearby the pigeon cages (he had roughly around 400 pigeons) and spent more than an hour there, talking about life and friends (he happened to know most of our friends, too). It was a good chat.

Dinner with Hengky, Jimmy and Hendra in Solo.

From there, we made our way to Solo. I came here once back in 2004. I met Hengky there at McDonald's. 15 years down the road, who knew I'd meet Hengky in Solo again? He came to bring us out for supper. It was a rather brief encounter, more like an encore. The original member of the Semarang trip returned for a cameo role, haha. 

The next morning, we went to Soto Ayam Gading, which was hyped as President Jokowi's favorite. It was crowded, but the food turned out be average. Not exactly super delicious and it could have been better. After breakfast, we headed to East Java. The journey was kind of smooth. No jam on the highway and it took us around three hours to travel from Solo to Surabaya.

Hendra and Jimmy at Apeng Kwetiau.

Our first destination in Surabaya was Apeng Kwetiau for lunch. We got to take queue number and wait for our turn! To be frank, as a guy who came from Pontianak and was familiar with fried kway teow, the taste of the one sold at Apeng Kwetiau was only alright. I reckon there weren't many options in Surabaya, hence it became one of the best out there, hehe. 

The sky was cloudy in the afternoon and the rain would come and go. Jimmy brought us to his fishing pond and it was kind of exciting to see people fishing, because the fish took the baits pretty often! The day then ended with a good Purwodadi frog meat soup and a night walk at the nearby shopping mall.

Hendra, making his way home.

Hendra headed back to Karawang via Jakarta on the following day. Prior to that, Jimmy brought us to Soto Ayam Lamongan Cak Har. It was good stuff and it tasted rich! Then it was time for us to send Hendra to the airport. As Hendra walk away, Jimmy's son said, "now Papa has only one friend left."

The trip started with eight people and now there were only two of us. Two old friends since kindergarten days that happened more than 35 years ago. As I got nothing to do that day, I just followed Jimmy as he was running errands. During lunch time, we ate at the same restaurant that we went six years ago. It was unintentional, I believe. To make it more dramatic, I actually forgot that we'd been there before. The whole experience was surreal and bittersweet.

The landmark of Batu, taken from Warung Mungil as we took a break.

The next day, we drove to this town called Batu. After hanging out with friends for about a week, it was great to see my wife and daughters again. Being alone for a short while was good. I felt rejuvenated to embrace the role of a husband and a father again.

Same can't be said about the villa we were staying at, though. It was infested by all kinds of insects! Later on, I got a long stretch of skin irritation on my neck that was misdiagnosed as shingles by the doctors in Singapore! Luckily I checked with Hengky, too. The good doctor told me that I was allegedly bitten by a tomcat bug, which made sense considering where I stayed before. He was right and the swelling subsided within a week.

With family at Batu Secret Zoo.

We went to Jatim Park 2 (Batu Secret Zoo) and Jatim Park 3 while we were there. I like the zoo. The layout was brilliant, definitely could compete with, let's say, zoos in Yangon or Nanjing. Some of the animals weren't usually found elsewhere, for example the giant anteater, alpaca and nutria. The zoo was big, too. In fact, we didn't manage to see the big cats and bears.

Jatim Park 3 was some sort of a dinosaurus park, but it got boring rather quickly. Apart from the animatronics and so-called museum nearby the entrance that might wow the first-time visitors, the rest of the attractions were, I'm afraid, mediocre. If you had been to Universal Studios or Disneyland, you'd feel that the park was done half-heartedly and for locals only.

Linda at Jatim Park 3.

The remaining days of Tour de Java was spent in Malang and Surabaya. It was a rainy day in Malang when we began the food-hunting. Of the three we tried, none turned out to be spectacular. Bakwan Subur was, perhaps, a better one. Soto Ayam Lombok was so-so only, but the most overrated one was cwimie (noodles) at Depot Hok Lay. We waited for almost two hours and were served with a very salty bowl of noodles! 

I reckon the food was a bit too much for my younger daughter, because she got food poisoning afterwards. A lot of vomiting going on, so we brought her to the A&E at Siloam Hospital in Surabaya. Jimmy came at night and brought us the fried chicken from his favorite restaurant, Bu Hartono. It was good, just what we needed!

On New Year's Day 2020, Jimmy picked us up for breakfast before sending us to the airport. Tour de Java that began in Jakarta on 20/12/19 was finally over. It was fun, not without challenges but, just like any good things in life, it had to come to an end. Until next time!

Audrey and Linda, right before the departure. 

Tour De Java: Solo, Surabaya, Batu Dan Malang

Setelah mengantar Budiman ke bandara, kita pun singgah ke Mbok Berek untuk makan siang. Segera setelah itu kita sadari bahwa tiga pria dewasa dan satu anak kecil tidak sanggup untuk menghabiskan satu ekor ayam goreng. Kebanyakan, haha. Saya sendiri kehilangan selera setelah menyadari bahwa kepala ayam menghadap ke arah saya. Usai makan, kita melanjutkan perjalanan ke Kaliurang untuk menemui teman saya, Soedjoko

Ini adalah pertama kalinya saya mengunjungi rumahnya di Yogyakarta. Luasnya sungguh mencengangkan! Dia memiliki dua petak tanah yang kalau digabungkan, memiliki luas 5.000 meter persegi! Kita duduk di dekat sangkar merpati (dia memelihara sekitar 400an merpati) dan berbincang tentang kehidupan dan teman-teman (dia juga kenal banyak teman sekolah saya). Senang bisa mengobrol dengannya lagi.

Jimmy menikmati manggis di tanah lapang rumah Soedjoko.

Dari rumah Soedjoko, kita lanjut ke Solo. Saya pernah ke sini pada tahun 2004 dan bertemu dengan Hengky di McDonald's. 15 tahun kemudian, siapa sangka kita akan bertemu di Solo lagi? Dokter Hengky tadinya ikut serta dalam liburan ke Semarang dan mendadak harus pulang ke Sragen saat kita berada di Yogyakarta. Dia lantas menyempatkan diri untuk ke Solo dan mengajak kita makan malam. 

Keesokan paginya, kita mampir ke Soto Ayam Gading yang konon merupakan makanan favorit Presiden Jokowi. Ramai tempatnya, tapi biasa masakannya. Tidak terlalu istimewa. Setelah sarapan, kita meluncur ke Jawa Timur. Perjalanan kita tergolong lancar, hanya butuh tiga jam dari Solo ke Surabaya. Tidak ada macet di tol.

Hengky di Petit Boutique Hotel, tempat kita bermalam di Solo.

Tujuan pertama kita di Surabaya adalah Kwetiau Apeng, terutama karena kita tiba tepat pada jam makan siang. Kita harus mengambil nomor antrian di sini karena ramai peminatnya! Kalau saya boleh jujur, sebagai orang yang berasal dari Pontianak dan menggemari aneka kwetiau goreng yang dijual di kota kelahiran saya ini, rasa masakan Kwetiau Apeng boleh dikatakan biasa saja bagi saya. Mungkin Surabaya tidak memiliki banyak pilihan, jadinya Kwetiau Apeng pun terkenal. 

Langit terlihat mendung di sore hari dan hujan pun datang dan pergi. Setelah makan siang, Jimmy membawa kita ke tambak ikannya. Seru juga melihat pengunjung yang sedang memancing. Di hari itu, banyak ikan yang terpancing! Hari itu lantas diakhiri dengan sup swikee Purwodadi di Food Festival Pakuwon dan jalan-jalan di mal yang berada tak jauh dari situ.

Hendra, Jimmy dan putranya menyusuri tambak di tengah hujan rintik-rintik.

Hendra pulang ke Karawang lewat Jakarta di hari berikutnya. Sebelum itu, Jimmy membawa kita ke Soto Ayam Lamongan Cak Har. Yang ini baru sedap sotonya. Benar-benar terasa gurih! Setelah perut kenyang, kita pun mengantar Hendra ke bandara. Sesudah Hendra berjalan masuk, putra Jimmy bergumam, "sekarang cuma satu teman Papa yang tersisa." 

Ya, liburan kita dimulai dengan delapan peserta, namun kini hanya tinggal dua orang. Dua teman lama dari TK sejak 35 tahun silam. Karena saya tidak ada acara pada hari itu, saya mengikuti Jimmy ke Pandaan untuk memeriksa mobil angkutannya. Di saat jam makan siang, kita makan di Ikan Bakar Cianjur yang ternyata pernah kita singgahi enam tahun yang lalu. Saya sempat lupa bahwa kita pernah ke sana sebelumnya, jadi pengalaman tersebut sungguh unik dan memiliki cerita tersendiri.

Makan siang di Ikan Bakar Cianjur, Pandaan.

Pada keesokan harinya, kita berangkat ke kota Batu. Setelah bertualang bersama teman-teman selama satu minggu lamanya, saya gembira bisa bertemu istri dan anak-anak saya lagi. Ada baiknya juga untuk menyendiri sebentar, sebab sekarang saya kembali dengan semangat baru untuk menjalankan peran saya sebagai seorang suami dan ayah.

Senang bisa berkumpul kembali bersama keluarga, tapi vila yang kita tempati ternyata tidak begitu menyenangkan. Banyak serangga di sana! Leher saya bahkan bengkak dan sempat didiagnosa sebagai herpes oleh dokter di Singapura! Untunglah saya juga berkonsultasi dengan dokter Hengky. Teman sekaligus dokter yang hebat ini memberitahukan pada saya, ini cuma bekas gigitan serangga, mungkin semut tomcat. Dia terbukti benar dan beberapa hari kemudian, bengkak di leher pun pudar.

Alpaca di Batu Secret Zoo.

Kita mengunjungi Jatim Park 2 (Batu Secret Zoo) dan Jatim Park 3 selama berada di Batu. Saya suka kebun binatang di sana. Rancangan tata letaknya sangat bagus, pokoknya jauh lebih bagus dari wahana serupa di beberapa kota di negara lain, misalnya Yangon Zoological Gardens di Myanmar atau Hongshan Forest Zoo di Nanjing, Cina. Beberapa jenis binatang yang dikoleksi di sini tidak ditemukan di banyak kebun binatang lainnya, misalnya trenggiling raksasa (giant anteater), alpaca dan nutria. Kebun binatang ini juga cukup luas. Kita bahkan tidak sempat melihat singa dan beruang karena sudah tutup saat kita berjalan ke sana. 

Jatim Park 3 adalah taman dinosaurus, namun terasa membosankan. Selain animatronics (patung yang memiliki gerakan terbatas) dan museum yang menampilkan fosil dinosaurus di dekat pintu masuk, atraksi lainnya tidaklah menarik. Jika anda pernah ke Universal Studios atau Disneyland, anda akan merasa bahwa taman dinosaurus ini dibuat dengan setengah hati dan mungkin hanya ditujukan untuk turis lokal saja.

Cwimie di Depot Hok Lay, Malang.

Sisa liburan Tour de Java dihabiskan di Malang dan Surabaya. Hujan turun dengan derasnya ketika kita mulai berburu makanan. Dari tiga menu yang kita coba, tidak ada satu pun yang spektakuler rasanya. Bakwan Subur boleh dikatakan lumayan. Soto Ayam Lombok hanya biasa saja, tapi yang paling heboh dan tidak sedahsyat antriannya adalah cwimie di Depot Hok Lay. Kita menanti hampir dua jam lamanya hanya untuk menyantap mie yang benar-benar asin! 

Saya pikir makanan di sana mungkin tidak cocok untuk putri bungsu saya, sebab dia muntah-muntah setelah itu. Saat kita tiba di Surabaya, kita bergegas membawanya ke perawatan darurat di Rumah Sakit Siloam untuk diperiksa dokter. Jimmy datang di malam hari dan membawakan kita Ayam Goreng Bu Hartono yang terbukti sedap. Setelah hari yang penuh cobaan, makanan enak ini sungguh menghibur!

Linda di Toko Roti Bon Ami, Surabaya.

Di Tahun Baru 2020, Jimmy datang menjemput dan membawa kita ke Depot Bu Rudy yang terkenal dengan sambalnya. Setelah sarapan pagi, kita pun diantar ke bandara. Tour de Java yang dimulai di Jakarta pada tanggal 20/12/19 pun berakhir. Liburan selama 12 hari ini seru dan juga penuh tantangan, apalagi kalau yang namanya anak sakit. Namun seperti semua hal di kehidupan ini, semuanya harus berakhir, supaya kisah baru pun bisa dimulai. Sampai jumpa lagi di petualangan berikutnya!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Tour De Java: Yogyakarta

Our trip to Yogyakarta started with an incident at Kampung Laut restaurant in Semarang. If you might recall from the previous story, Endrico and Alvin headed to airport after lunch. We should have been on our way to Yogyakarta, too, but Hengky's car engine failed to start. When he turned the key, there wasn't any light on the dashboard.

Budiman and friends pushing the car.

Then we thought of starting it up manually. Hengky and Jimmy took turns as the driver while Budiman and others were giving the car a push, but that also didn't help. We eventually called the car mechanic and a quick diagnosis showed that the car battery had totally run out of juice and needed to be replaced. So what Jimmy said to us during our stay in Semarang was proven to be true. Most of the problems in life could be solved if you were willing to pay, haha.

By the time we got the car's engine up and running, it was too late for us to visit Borobudur, so we went straight to Yogyakarta instead. I just learnt that there was no highway to the city when we exited the toll road in Boyolali. From there onwards, it was a country road that jammed horribly as we approached Yogyakarta. The speed was reduced to crawling for the last few kilometres and the total madness only ended after we passed by Malioboro.

Meeting Frans at Lombok Idjo.

It'd been almost 9pm when we checked in and came out for dinner, so we took a walk to a nearby restaurant called Lombok Idjo. The food was too Javanese for my liking, but it was edible. Before the night ended, Frans came to meet us. That was probably the first time I saw him since we last met in Kuching two decades ago. We had a quick chat before calling it a night.

The next morning, Budiman woke up early to buy us lupis, a local delicacy that Yuliana told us before (I swear it tasted like putu songkok, something that Pontianak people of my generation would be familiar with). Hengky then bade us farewell as he was needed at home. We were left with only Jimmy's car now and as we all squeezed in it, what came next caught me by surprise. The boys actually planned to go to Borobudur since it didn't happen yesterday! The temple is located roughly in the middle of Semarang and Yogyakarta. I was a bit hesitant as the road trip we had the day before was unnecessary long, but the journey to Borobudur turned out to be fine.

Hengky's farewell.

It was a right decision to go there, because the wonder of Borobudur was impressive! The last time I went there was 15 years ago. I had seen Angkor Wat since then and now that I looked at Borobudur again, it was indeed smaller when compared with its counterpart in Cambodia. Anyway, they were architecturally different. Angkor Wat was designed like a palace that we could enter whereas Borobudur wasn't anything like that and we could only climb up. And climb up we did, just to touch the Buddha statue inside the stupa. 

When we left the temple via the nearest exit, we lost our way as we got out from the maze-like market. We entered the nearby ticket office and the good staff there tried to redirect us based on the entrance that we described to her, but we only got a vague idea of the location she was talking about. As we walked, we ended up returning to the place where we took a break earlier. We were clearly getting nowhere and it was getting late in the afternoon, so we decided to have our lunch first at Manohara Restaurant. Ever the street-smart one, Budiman negotiated and got the buggy car driver to send us to where our car was parked. The guy sure knew the place well and somebody, probably Jimmy, made sure that he was rewarded.

Hendra posed as Budiman made an effort to touch the Buddha statue. 

We wasted no time to head back to hotel. After a quick shower, we walked to Malioboro. It took us easily two hours to get in and out. The place was flooded with human! Apart from the batik and dinner we had, I barely remember anything we did there. It seemed like we just walked towards the end and turned back right after that, haha.

It was on our way back that we bumped into Hartono. He was having dinner before meeting us. When we chilled out at the hotel restaurant, Teng Lai and Frans came to join us as well. It was a good catch-up as most of us hadn't seen each other for years! Teng Lai got us chuckling with the origin of a legendary secondary school mockery popularised by Susanto Phang. That's right, the culprit was one of the so-called Four Heavenly Kings. Oh yeah, that's what they called themselves then. It was so hilarious that Hendra stared at me in disbelief, haha. 

Budiman was leaving Yogyakarta on the following afternoon. As we still had some time, we did a quick visit to Pengger Pine Forest. It was quite alright, though it felt like it was made for local tourists. After taking a few photos, we went to the airport and wished Budiman a safe flight. The journey continued with only the three of us now (and Jimmy's boy, too). Stay tuned!

Budiman at the airport. 

Tour De Java: Yogyakarta

Perjalanan kita ke Yogyakarta dimulai dengan sebuah insiden di lapangan parkir restoran Kampung Laut di Semarang. Jika anda baca cerita sebelumnya, Endrico dan Alvin meluncur ke bandara setelah makan siang. Seharusnya kita pun berangkat ke Yogyakarta juga, tapi mobil Hengky ternyata mogok. Ketika distarter, tidak ada lampu di panel pengemudi.

Lantas terpikirkan oleh kita untuk coba distarter secara manual. Hengky dan Jimmy silih berganti menjadi pengemudi sementara Budiman dan kawan-kawan mendorong mobil, tapi upaya ini tetap saja tidak berhasil. Akhirnya kita memanggil montir dan setelah dicek, ternyata aki mobil sudah habis dan perlu diganti. Jadi apa yang Jimmy ucapkan sewaktu di Semarang pun terbukti. Hampir semua masalah di dalam hidup ini bisa diatasi, asalkan anda bersedia membayar, wahaha. 

Jimmy memeriksa mesin mobil. 

Ketika mobil siap jalan, sudah terlambat bagi kita untuk mengunjungi Borobudur, jadi kita langsung menuju Yogyakarta. Saat Hengky keluar di Boyolali, barulah saya ketahui bahwa hingga saat ini belum ada tol yang menghubungkan Yogyakarta dan Semarang. Dari Boyolali, kita melintasi jalan biasa yang kian lama kian macet. Mobil bagaikan merangkak saat kita menempuh beberapa kilometer terakhir sebelum tiba di hotel. Kemacetan baru terurai setelah kita melewati persimpangan Tugu Yogyakarta yang juga mengarah ke Malioboro. 

Tatkala kita selesai check-in dan keluar untuk bersantap malam, hari sudah gelap dan jam menunjukkan hampir pukul sembilan, oleh karena itu kita makan di Lombok Idjo yang terletak di seberang hotel. Menu masakannya terlalu khas Jawa dan tidak terlalu cocok dengan selera saya, tapi masih bisa disantap. Sesaat setelah kita usai, Frans datang menjumpai kita. Ini mungkin adalah pertama kalinya saya bertemu Frans sejak berpapasan dengannya di Kuching dua dekade silam. 

Budiman mengantri lupis.
Foto: Budiman.

Keesokan paginya, Budiman bangun pagi untuk membeli lupis bagi kita semua. Ini adalah kue lokal yang diceritakan Yuliana pada kita. Rasanya mirip putu songkok, kue yang tentunya tidak asing bagi orang Pontianak generasi saya. Di pagi yang sama, Hengky pun pamit karena dipanggil pulang ke rumah. Yang tersisa sekarang hanyalah mobil Jimmy dan kita menumpang mobil tersebut ke Borobudur. Candi ini berada di Magelang yang terletak di antara Semarang dan Yogyakarta. Saya sebenarnya agak ragu untuk ke sana karena macet yang saya alami di malam sebelumnya, tapi syukurlah perjalanan kali ini lancar jaya. 

Keputusan untuk pergi ke Borobudur adalah tepat, sebab Borobudur memang menakjubkan! Terakhir kali saya ke sana adalah 15 tahun yang lalu. Semenjak itu, saya sudah melihat langsung Angkor Wat. Ketika saya berdiri di depan Borobudur lagi, memang kelihatannya candi di Indonesia ini lebih kecil dari sepupunya yang ada di Kamboja. Akan tetapi rancangan dua candi ini memang berbeda. Angkor Wat mirip istana yang bisa dimasuki, sedangkan Borobudur hanya bisa didaki sampai ke puncak. Dan kita pun mendaki. Budiman juga mencoba memegang patung Budha yang ada di dalam stupa.

Di Borobudur.
Foto: Budiman.

Sewaktu kita meninggalkan kawasan candi lewat pintu keluar terdekat, kita tersesat setelah melewati pasar tradisional yang berliku-liku. Kita hampiri kantor penjualan tiket dan berdasarkan penjelasan yang kita berikan, karyawati di sana pun memberikan panduan arah ke tempat parkir mobil. Kita lantas bergerak ke arah yang ditunjuk, namun malah muncul di tempat kita beristirahat setelah meninggalkan candi. Jelas sudah bahwa kita salah jalan lagi. Karena hari sudah sore, kita akhirnya menuju ke Restoran Manohara untuk makan siang dulu. Budiman yang cerdik dan sigap bernegosiasi dengan pihak restoran supaya kita diantar ke tempat parkir setelah selesai makan. Dan benar saja, pengemudi mobil buggy itu tahu lokasi yang kita maksudkan. Salah satu dari kita, Jimmy kalau tidak salah, pun memberikan tips atas jasanya.

Kita akhirnya kembali ke hotel. Setelah mandi, kita berjalan kaki ke Malioboro. Butuh waktu dua jam untuk menuju dan keluar dari kawasan tersebut. Malioboro benar-benar bagaikan lautan manusia! Selain makan malam dan batik yang kita beli, saya tidak ingat lagi apa yang kita lakukan di sana. Sepertinya yang kita lakukan hanyalah berjalan dan terus berjalan, haha.

Bersama Budiman di Malioboro.
Foto: Budiman.

Dalam perjalanan pulang ke hotel, kita bertemu dengan Hartono yang sedang makan malam di warung. Kemudian, saat kita sedang santai di restoran hotel, Teng Lai dan Frans datang bergabung. Senang bisa berkumpul lagi setelah tidak bersua selama puluhan tahun. Teng Lai membuat kita tertawa dengan asal-usul ejekan legendaris masa SMP yang dipopulerkan oleh Susanto Phang. Ternyata pelopornya adalah salah satu dari Empat Raja Langit. Anak SMP memang gila-gilaan kalau soal julukan. Saat mendengar julukan tersebut, Hendra sampai menatap saya dengan tatapan tidak percaya, haha.

Budiman meninggalkan Yogyakarta di sore hari berikutnya. Karena kita masih punya waktu, di pagi itu kita mengunjungi Hutan Pinus Pengger. Tempat wisatanya lumayan, tapi kesannya hanya dibangun untuk turis lokal. Setelah berfoto sejenak, kita bergegas ke lapangan terbang dan mengucapkan selamat jalan pada Budiman. Petualangan kembali dilanjutkan, meski hanya tersisa tiga orang plus anak Jimmy. Nantikan kisah berikutnya!

Di Hutan Pinus Pengger.
Foto: Budiman.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Tour De Java: Semarang

The Semarang trip is a classic example of saying something often enough to others until it sounded like a good idea, haha. I always wanted to go to Semarang simply because it was the only capital city in Java that I had never been to. That's why I kept hyping about it. The plan was initially bashed by many (Semarang is boring, Semarang is hot, Semarang got nothing, bla-bla-bla), but some eventually found it intriguing and decided to join in. That, my friends, is how it happened.

Came the big day, Surianto and I flew in early from Singapore to Jakarta. We took our time to visit an old friend named Sunarto who's now selling noodles, just like what his parents did 20 years ago. And what a bowl of teenaged goodness we had for lunch! Crab Noodles Hong Tian rocked!

Hanging out at Nasi Campur Alu.

The good day got better later on, when we hung out at Nasi Campur Alu. It felt right to have the unmistakable taste of our hometown with old friends from Pontianak! Alvin and Hendra met and ate with us there. Susan and Mul also made time to join us for a while. CP, the host, suddenly declared that Susan had paid for the meal, though Susan clearly didn't acknowledge that. Anyway, free meal was definitely welcome. Thanks!

When the evening came, we made our way to the train station. Endrico said he was already at the parking lot, but only God knows why it took him half an hour to meet us. He was the last to arrive, appearing few minutes after Budiman. Then off we went. The train was punctual, clean and comfortable. I was actually impressed! And throughout the six-hour trip, we chatted, ate (again) and slept as much as we could.

The train ride, as viewed from Endrico's camera.
Left: Anthony. Right: Surianto. 

It was 1am when we reached Semarang. We headed to Simpang Lima, the landmark of Semarang, because that's where our hotel was. After checked in, we decided to have a supper. We explored the eateries in Simpang Lima before we settled with bakmie Jawa and tongseng. We called it a night after that. Endrico shared room with Alvin, I was with Surianto and the last room was occupied by the other two.

The next morning, as we were on the way to Soto Bangkong for breakfast, Jimmy and son joined us. Not long after that, Hengky came, too. Our group members were finally complete! As we had our breakfast, Jimmy suggested Eling Bening and Gedong Songo that were located outside the city. I liked the fact that we were a bunch of easy-going guys. Without a second thought, we agreed to Jimmy's idea immediately!

When we were in Eling Bening.
Photo by Hengky.

First stop, Eling Bening in a city called Ambarawa! Jimmy and team reached there first as Hengky made a wrong turn, haha. But it was nice ride. There were four of us in a car and we had a good chat, including that unorthodox but sexy way to compliment a wife, haha. 

Eling Bening is about scenery viewed from highlands. It's so high that we could see Rawa Pening Lake from afar. The view was beautiful and the weather was cool. There was a white dragon boat replica that looked as if it was floating in the air. None of the attractions could hold us for long, though. Guys being guys, after taking pictures and a short break, we left for the next destination, haha.

The first team to reach Gedong Songo.
From left: Hengky, Anthony, Hendra and Surianto. 

The second tourist spot we visited was Gedong Songo in Bandungan (and no, it's not Bandung). The same entourage travelled with Hengky again. Much to my surprise, we made it first this time! As Jimmy and friends were still on the way, we went into a shop to have late lunch and tried the rabbit satay. It tasted quite alright.

Gedong Songo is a collection of few candi or temples. The location of one is quite a walking distance from another. To make it more challenging, Gedong Songo is sitting on the hillside, so we got to hike. The first candi was the only one that could be reached by all of us. The next one was an uphill battle. When Jimmy said we were almost there, I suddenly remember him saying the same thing 21 years ago, when we were lost in the forest of Temajoh: the truth is, we were nowhere near the destination, haha. After trying for a while, the few of us who attempted eventually gave up and turned back.

At the first temple.

We had a snack before we returned to Semarang. This time Hendra, Surianto and I switched to Jimmy's car. We headed to Kedai Beringin, a spacious restaurant that sells Chinese food. The dinner was surprisingly cheap dan good, but it's also interesting to learn that such a big establishment doesn't accept credit cards. 

Then came the most memorable night of the trip. The eight of us hung out in one room, just sharing and talking about life. There was a certain but indescribable closeness, perhaps due to the fact that we were old friends from the same school in our hometown. Family life, or even life in general, is never without problems and this is the thing that guys generally suffer in silence. But for once we discussed about it among us. It was good. Funny at times, the session was also very constructive, too.

From left: Jimmy (in white shirt), Endrico and Hendra, trying their best to enjoy Bakmie Siang Kie in a very limited seating space.

We checked out the next morning and we went to Gang Lombok for breakfast. There are two things  that are famous there: the spring rolls and noodles. Both had very long queues, but the spring rolls would take hours! While waiting for Siang Kie Noodles, we explored the area. Kay Tak Sie, a temple dedicated to Admiral Zheng He, was just around the corner. There was a rest area next to the temple, too, where we had our milk coffee later on. Back to the noodles, it was quite alright. I don't mind having it again if I don't need to queue. 

After eating, we rushed to Bandeng Presto to buy local delicacies before continuing to Sam Poo Kong, another temple dedicated to Zheng He. Believe it or not, Budiman and Hendra ended up playing airsoft gun there! From the temple, we drove to Kampung Laut, a big seafood restaurant, to have lunch. Haha, ya, we could really eat! The scallops, known locally as simping, was the special menu there. 

And that was our last gathering together. Endrico and Alvin went to the airport after lunch while the rest of us embarked on our journey to Yogyakarta. There was an incident before that, but hey, let's save the story for another time. Stay tuned, okay?

With Endrico at Kampung Laut, before our lunch.

Tour De Java: Semarang

Liburan ke Semarang trip ini adalah contoh klasik tentang sesuatu yang disebut terus-menerus sehingga lambat-laun terdengar seperti ide bagus, haha. Saya selalu ingin pergi ke Semarang karena inilah satu-satunya ibukota di Jawa yang belum pernah saya kunjungi. Saya lantas berkoar-koar tentang Semarang di grup teman-teman SMA. Awalnya rencana ini ditentang banyak orang (Semarang membosankan, Semarang tidak ada apa-apa, Semarang panas, bla-bla-bla), namun lama-kelamaan ada yang tertarik untuk turut-serta. Akhirnya terjadilah liburan ini. 

Ketika hari-H tiba, Surianto dan saya terbang di pagi hari dari Singapura ke Jakarta. Karena banyak waktu luang, kita pun mengunjungi teman lama bernama Sunarto yang kini berjualan bakmie, profesi yang juga ditekuni oleh orang tuanya 20 puluh tahun silam. Dan semangkok mie buatannya bukan saja lezat, tapi juga membawa kita kembali ke masa remaja! Bakmie Kepiting Hong Tian memang dashyat!

Bakmie Kepiting Hong Tian di Pademangan.

Hari pertama liburan terasa kian menyenangkan ketika kita berkumpul di Nasi Campur Alu pada sore hari. Makan nasi campur bersama teman-teman lama dari Pontianak sungguh sedap rasanya. Alvin dan Hendra akhirnya datang bergabung dan juga bersantap bersama kita. Susan dan Mul juga mampir. Ketika kita hendak pamit, CP tiba-tiba mengatakan bahwa apa yang kita pesan sudah dilunasi oleh Susan, meski Susan tidak pernah mengiyakan pernyataan CP tersebut. Siapa pun yang traktir, kebaikannya takkan dilupakan. Terima kasih!

Saat hari menjelang senja, kita pun bergegas ke stasiun kereta. Endrico mengabarkan bahwa dia sudah berada di lapangan parkir, namun hanya Tuhan yang tahu kenapa dia butuh setengah jam untuk menjumpai kita yang sudah menunggu di gerbang masuk. Dia baru muncul setelah Budiman tiba beberapa saat lamanya. Kemudian berangkatlah kita. Keretanya tepat waktu, bersih dan nyaman. Saya sungguh terkesan! Dan selama perjalanan berdurasi enam jam itu, kita mengobrol, makan (lagi) dan tidur sebisanya.

Menanti kedatangan kereta di Stasiun Gambir. 

Jam menunjukkan pukul satu pagi ketika kita tiba di Semarang. Kita pun menuju ke Simpang Lima karena hotel kita berada di sana. Setelah check-in, kita memutuskan untuk makan lagi. Kita mengitari tempat makan yang mengelilingi Simpang Lima dan akhirnya menyantap bakmie Jawa dan tongseng. Setelah perut kenyang, barulah kita tidur. Endrico sekamar dengan Alvin, saya dengan Surianto dan sisanya ditempati oleh dua kawan lainnya. 

Keesokan paginya, selagi kita berjalan kaki ke Soto Bangkong untuk sarapan pagi, Jimmy dan putranya datang bergabung. Tidak lama setelah itu, Hengky juga tiba di rumah makan. Saat kita menikmati soto porsi kecil ini, Jimmy mengusulkan tempat wisata Eling Bening dan Gedong Songo yang berada di luar kota. Tanpa ragu, semuanya pun setuju. Saya suka gaya para pria yang cepat dalam bersepakat dan praktis dalam bertindak! Bayangkan kalau ada yang cerewet, pasti susah untuk jalan bersama.

Berjalan kaki dari hotel ke Soto Bangkong.

Pemberhentian pertama, Eling Bening, terletak di kota yang bernama Ambarawa. Jimmy dan rombongannya tiba terlebih dahulu karena Hengky belok ke arah yang salah, haha. Tapi kita gembira menumpang di mobil Hengky. Ada empat orang di mobil dan kita bercakap-cakap tentang banyak hal, termasuk cara seksi untuk memuji istri, haha.  

Daya tarik Eling Bening adalah pemandangan dari dataran tinggi. Lokasi kita cukup tinggi sehingga bisa melihat Rawa Bening yang berada di kejauhan. Pemandangannya indah dan cuacanya pun sejuk. Ada kapal naga putih yang dibuat seakan-akan melayang di udara. Akan tetapi kita tidak berada lama di sana. Setelah foto-foto dan minum sejenak untuk melepas dahaga, kita lantas berangkat lagi ke tujuan berikutnya.

Budiman di Eling Bening.

Dari Eling Bening, kita menuju ke Gedong Songo yang berada di Bandungan (ini kota yang berbeda dengan Bandung). Rombongan yang sama kembali mengikuti Hengky dan kali ini kita sampai lebih dulu. Karena Jimmy dan kawan-kawan masih dalam perjalanan, kita mampir ke rumah makan untuk santap siang. Menu hari itu adalah sate kelinci. Rasanya lumayan. 

Gedong Songo adalah satu kawasan dengan beberapa candi. Jarak satu candi ke candi lainnya bisa dicapai dengan berjalan kaki, tapi terasa menantang karena jalannya menanjak. Akhirnya kita semua hanya bisa berkumpul di candi pertama, haha. Candi yang berikutnya tidak gampang dicapai. Ketika Jimmy berkata bahwa kita hampir tiba, mendadak saya teringat ucapan serupa yang ia lontarkan 21 tahun yang lalu, sewaktu kita tersesat di Temajoh: sebenarnya kita masih jauh dari tujuan, haha. Kita akhirnya menyerah dan berjalan pulang.

Separuh jalan di Gedong Songo.
Foto oleh Endrico.

Kita mengisi perut sejenak dengan ubi Cilembu sebelum kembali ke Semarang. Kali ini Hendra, Surianto dan saya pindah ke mobil Jimmy. Kita meluncur ke Kedai Beringin, sebuah restoran besar yang menjual masakan Cina. Makan malam ini enak dan murah. Pokoknya mantap. Kendati begitu, kita cukup terkejut juga karena restoran sebesar ini ternyata tidak menerima kartu kredit. 

Apa yang terjadi selanjutnya adalah malam yang mengesankan. Kita berkumpul di kamar, berbincang dan bertukar pikiran tentang kehidupan. Ada nuansa keakraban yang begitu terasa, mungkin karena kita semua adalah teman lama yang berasal dari sekolah yang sama di Pontianak. Biasanya pria hanya berdiam diri dalam menjalani kehidupan dan rumah tangga yang tidak luput dari masalah, namun di malam itu kita berdiskusi tentang topik ini. Kita tergelak, geli mendengar komentar yang benar tapi lucu. Pokoknya serius tapi santai. Sangat bermanfaat.

Saat kita berkumpul dan berbincang.

Kita pun check-out di pagi berikutnya dan mengendarai mobil ke Gang Lombok untuk sarapan pagi. Ada dua makanan khas Semarang yang terkenal di tempat ini: Lumpia Semarang dan Bakmie Siang Kie. Dua-duanya perlu antri, tapi antrian lumpia membutuhkan waktu berjam-jam lamanya! Selagi mengantri Bakmie Siang Kie, beberapa di antara kita menjelajahi kawasan tersebut. Di balik toko lumpia ternyata ada Klenteng Kay Tak Sie yang memuja Laksamana Cheng Ho. Ada semacam kantin di dekatnya dan di sanalah kita menikmati kopi susu dan lumpia setelah sarapan. Bicara tentang bakmie, rasanya lumayan enak. Saya tidak keberatan untuk mencicipinya lagi, asalkan jangan antri seperti tempo hari.

Sesudah makan, kita lanjut ke Bandeng Presto untuk membeli oleh-oleh, lalu mengunjungi Klenteng Sam Poo Kong yang juga dipersembahkan untuk Laksamana Cheng Ho. Percaya atau tidak, Budiman dan Hendra justru main airsoft gun di sini! Setelah usai tembak-tembakan, kita pergi ke Kampung Laut untuk makan makanan laut. Yaa, kita kuat makan, haha. Menu masakan yang istimewa di sana adalah kerang simping.  

Dan itu adalah perjamuan terakhir bagi rombongan kita. Endrico dan Alvin langsung ke bandara udara seusai makan siang. Kita pun melanjutkan perjalanan ke Yogyakarta. Ada satu kejadian tak terduga sebelum kita berangkat, tapi lebih cocok bila saya simpan cerita ini untuk kisah berikutnya. Nantikan saja, ok?

Menanti makan siang di Kampung Laut.