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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Around Three Countries In Six Days: Indonesia

Yes, looking back, I did a similar trips before, but it was never in such a short period of time. The recent trip was a series of quick cultural changes, from Indonesia, Malaysia to Thailand. It was like going through the twilight zone. Very surreal!

The trip began with a ferry ride from Singapore to Batam. It was an odd one. First, I bumped into Budi, the elusive ex-housemate of mine. Hadn't seen him in quite some time! Secondly, the ferry left the pier but it wasn't departing because it gave way to some big cruise ship that was coming into to the harbour. So there we were, floating on the same spot for easily half an hour! It was alright, though. We had a good catch-up and talked about tons of stuff, i.e. the good ol' days told from Budi's perspective (for the first time ever!) and new credit cards such as Revolut.

Fried Indomie.

I didn't have much time when I reached Batam, so I rushed to the airport. Grabbed a lunch there. The menu? I was choosing between fried Indomie and batagor, but they were so tempting that I decided to have both, haha. Greedy, eh? Not long after the stomach was filled up, it was time to fly. Around 4pm, when I reached Pontianak, I already travelled 626 km, from the first world country to my slowly-changing hometown via Batam. Three cities within five hours!

My friend Harry picked me up at Supadio Airport in Pontianak. It was always good to see some familiar faces in a town that is fading away from what I used to know. As I said earlier, Pontianak is slowly changing. Gone were some places I remember fondly, replaced by new ones. I was only partially impressed, though. Due to sentimental reasons, I wasn't sure if I liked the changes. 

But there's no denying that my hometown is more developed than before. An excellent example would be one particular road where Aming Coffee is located. It was barely a road back then as it was always in a bad shape throughout the 22 years of my life in Pontianak. Imagine how surprised I was to see it so smooth now! It was so amusing that I just had to laugh!

Sweet fried noodles.

By the way, how did I end up there? Back to our story, instead of heading home directly from the airport, Harry and I went for an early dinner. We had the sweet fried noodles, one that I was craving for, and the stall happened to be a walking distance from where the road is. When I finished eating, I walked a bit just to look around. That's when I unintentionally found out about it. 

Parno already was at my home when I got there. He wanted to pick up something that he had been waiting for months: the Nintendo Switch! Later on that night, Ardian picked us up. He said it was up to me to decide on what to do, since I was the guest of honor, so I thought we should go singing! It was fun to scream at the top of your lungs! Gunawan, Harry and Novi came to join us, too.

Parno began selecting songs.

The next morning, Gunawan and I went out for breakfast at A Kuang, the eatery opened by a friend's father. We had a local delicacy called kwe kia theng, the equivalent of kway chap in Singapore. Good stuff! We met Santi there and, as she left before us, she quietly paid for our breakfast. How generous! 

After breakfast, it was time to live a local lifestyle. We grabbed our coffee and spent our time talking at the coffee house. I chose Aming Coffee as a place for Lisan, Harry, Gunawan and I to hang out. To me, Aming Coffee is like our local Hard Rock Cafe. I feel proud of it! And the day got better when Limin, the owner, came to join us. We weren't close during school days, but that didn't stop me from admiring his achievement. In fact, I was so in awe that when I started interviewing people for Roadblog101, he was the first candidate I had in mind!

Lisan and Gunawan.

By the way, let's talk about the local lifestyle a bit. Yes, it was Sunday, so what I observed might not be a good indicator, but I was reminded again about how places were so reachable in this small town. As far as I'm concerned, Pontianak was probably the only town where you could go home for lunch and have a short nap before going back to office. Compared to the fast-paced life in Singapore, Pontianak was so relax. Time moved rather slow there, but things were surprisingly not cheap! 

Conclusion? I had a good time living there, but no, I wouldn't trade my life now with, let's say, another 20 years in Pontianak. I like it here in Singapore and nowadays, when I went back, I couldn't help feeling like I was visiting my hometown as a tourist. Just spend a couple of days there, having good food, meeting friends and being nostalgic about the good old days.

Afu's chicken rice. 

And reliving the nostalgia is what I did. After having a cup legendary chocolate ice cream that was located right across our high school with Gunawan, I hung out with Sudarto, my ex-housemate in Singapore. Heard about Afu's chicken rice lately, so I thought of giving it a try. It wasn't as wet as Asan's chicken rice, but it had quite a lot of meat. Not bad!

The rest of the day was spent at my cousin's wedding. There was a family gathering at the restaurant prior to the banquet, but as I already had a plate of chicken rice, the food didn't look tempting, haha. I just ate a bit and grew hungry again few hours later. The night was eventually ended with a dinner with Vivi and Gunawan at Lenda's Meetingpoint.

The next morning, I went to the airport with my mother and brother. Had a bowl of bakso there and off we went! The family trip to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur had finally begun! The plane took off, taking us away from Pontianak and bringing us closer to Indochina as we flew...

As the plane took off...



Keliling Tiga Negara Dalam Enam Hari: Indonesia

Ya, kalau saya lihat kembali, memang saya pernah melakukan perjalanan serupa, tapi rasanya saya belum pernah berlibur menjelajahi tiga negara dalam waktu enam hari. Petualangan bulan lalu membawa saya melewati pergantian tiga budaya yang berbeda, dari Indonesia, ke Malaysia dan Thailand. Semua itu terjadi dalam waktu singkat sehingga terasa seperti mimpi yang aneh tapi nyata.  

Perjalanan kali ini dimulai dengan kapal feri dari Singapura ke Batam yang tidak lazim. Pertama, saya bertemu dengan Budi, mantan teman serumah saat saya pindah ke Singapura. Sudah lama tidak bertemu dengan teman yang jarang terlihat ini! Kedua, setelah sudah meninggalkan dermaga, feri tidak segera berlayar karena ada kapal pesiar yang masuk dengan perlahan-lahan ke pelabuhan. Jadi kita pun terombang-ambing di laut kira-kira setengah jam lamanya! Kita pun berbincang tentang masa lalu di Kembangan (kali ini Budi berkesempatan untuk bercerita dari sudut pandangnya) dan berbagai hal lainnya, termasuk juga kartu kredit bernama Revolut yang konon bagus kursnya.

Indomie goreng.

Karena keberangkatan feri yang tertunda, saya tidak mempunyai banyak waktu saat tiba di Batam, jadi saya pun bergegas ke bandara. Saya makan siang di sana dan menunya adalah Indomie goreng dan batagor. Seharusnya saya memilih salah satu, tapi saya memesan dua-duanya karena rakus, haha. Setelah perut kenyang, akhirnya tiba waktunya untuk menaiki pesawat. Ketika saya tiba di Pontianak sekitar pukul empat sore, saya sudah menempuh jarak 626 kilometer dari Singapura ke kampung halaman saya via Batam. Tiga kota dalam lima jam! 

Teman saya Harry menjemput saya di Bandara Supadio di Pontianak. Senang bisa melihat wajah yang saya kenal di kota yang perlahan-lahan pudar dari ingatan saya. Ya, Pontianak kini berubah karena pembangunan. Hilang sudah beberapa tempat yang dulu saya kenal baik, berganti menjadi tempat yang baru. Saya tidak begitu terkesan, sebenarnya, tapi itu lebih dikarenakan alasan sentimentil.  

Kendati begitu, saya harus mengakui bahwa Pontianak sudah lebih maju dari sebelumnya. Satu contoh yang membuat saya terkejut dan juga merasa geli adalah Jalan Haji Abbas 1 yang juga merupakan lokasi Aming Coffee. Jalan ini selalu rusak parah selama 22 tahun hidup saya di Pontianak, jadi bayangkan betapa kagetnya saya tatkala melihat mulusnya jalan ini sekarang. Saya jadi tergelak sendiri karena merasa sulit untuk percaya.

Mie goreng manis.

Oh ya, kenapa saya bisa muncul di sana? Kembali ke cerita kita, saya tidak langsung pulang ke rumah. Dari bandara, Harry dan saya langsung mencari makan malam dan kita menyantap mie goreng manis yang memang sudah saya idamkan. Seusai makan, saya menyusuri Jalan Siam sejenak dan berjalan kaki hingga persimpangan. Saat itulah saya tanpa sengaja menemukan fakta tentang Jalan Haji Abas 1 yang mengejutkan ini. 

Ketika saya tiba di rumah, Parno sudah menunggu di sana. Dia ke rumah karena ingin mengambil sesuatu yang telah dinantikannya selama beberapa bulan: Nintendo Switch! Kemudian, sewaktu malam mulai larut, Ardian datang menjemput. Katanya, karena saya adalah tamu, maka saya yang tentukan acaranya. Oleh karena itu kita pun pergi karaoke di De'Tones by Afghan. Gembira rasanya bisa bernyanyi dan berteriak lagi. Gunawan, Harry dan Novi datang bergabung juga di malam itu.


Parno mulai memilih lagu.

Keesokan paginya, Gunawan dan saya pergi sarapan pagi di kwe kia theng A Kuang. Makanan ini mirip dengan kway chap di Singapura. Sedap rasanya! Kita juga bertemu dengan Santi di sana dan, ketika dia pamit duluan, diam-diam dia juga membayar pesanan kita. Terima kasih karena sudah ditraktir! 

Sesudah sarapan, tibalah waktunya untuk menikmati gaya hidup Pontianak: duduk dan mengobrol di warung kopi. Saya sangat memilih Aming Coffee karena saya senantiasa merasa bahwa kedai kopi ini tak ubahnya seperti Hard Rock Cafe bernuansa lokal. Pokoknya seperti kebanggaan Pontianak. Dan kunjungan ini pun tambah berkesan ketika Limin, sang pemilik, datang untuk turut berbincang. Saya tidak dekat dengannya sewaktu sekolah, tapi hal ini tidak mengurangi kekaguman saya terhadap apa yang ia capai. Ketika saya mulai mewawancarai teman dan kenalan untuk Roadblog101, dia adalah orang pertama yang saya hubungi.

Lisan dan Gunawan.

Oh ya, mari berbicara sedikit tentang gaya hidup lokal. Ya, hari itu adalah Minggu, jadi apa yang saya amati mungkin bukan indikator yang tepat, namun saya diingatkan kembali, betapa jarak bukanlah masalah bagi mereka yang tinggal di Pontianak. Sejauh yang saya ketahui, Pontianak mungkin adalah satu-satunya kota dimana anda bisa pulang untuk makan siang dan bahkan tidur sejenak sebelum kembali ke kantor. Dibandingkan dengan pola hidup Singapura yang cepat, kehidupan di Pontianak sungguh santai. Waktu berjalan pelan di sini, tapi sungguh mencengangkan bahwa makanan di sini tidaklah murah. 

Kesimpulannya? Kehidupan saya di Pontianak dulu cukup menyenangkan, tapi saya tidak akan menukar kehidupan saya di Singapura, katakanlah dengan 20 tahun lagi di Pontianak. Sekarang ini saya lebih suka mengunjungi kampung halaman sebagai seorang turis. Cukup tinggal dua tiga hari di sana, makan makanan yang saya sukai, ketemu teman lama dan bernostalgia tentang masa lalu yang indah.

Afu's chicken rice. 

Dan bernostalgia adalah apa yang saya lakukan di sana. Setelah menikmati es krim A Ngi yang legendaris bersama Gunawan, saya pun menjumpai Sudarto, mantan teman serumah di Singapura. Belakangan ini saya sering mendengar tentang nasi ayam Afu, jadi pun saya pun mencobanya. Nasi ayam Afu tidak sebasah nasi ayam Asan dan dagingnya berlimpah. Lumayan enak! 

Sore harinya saya habiskan di pernikahan sepupu saya. Ada acara makan khusus keluarga sebelum pesta dimulai, namun berhubung saya telah makan nasi ayam, hidangan di meja tidak lagi membangkitkan selera, haha. Alhasil saya hanya makan sedikit dan lapar lagi. Malam itu akhirnya ditutup dengan santap malam bersama Vivi dan Gunawan di Meetingpoint. 

Di pagi berikutnya, saya ke bandara bersama ibu dan adik saya. Saya sempat menyantap bakso sebelum berangkat. Setelah itu, pesawat pun lepas landas, membawa kita menjauhi Pontianak dan mendekati Indocina. Liburan keluarga ke Bangkok lewat Kuala Lumpur akhirnya dimulai! Nantikan ceritanya di episode selanjutnya!

Ketika pesawat lepas landas...

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