I don’t like long road trip, not even in Bali, the longest car trip I’ve done about 4 years ago was around Bali, and that’s because of my job. Benny had been thinking about driving Bali-Java for a long time, and recently I had to send my Bali car to my parent’s home in Bandung, West Java, so we thought this would be a great chance to visit several cities in East and Central Java, like : Surabaya, Madiun, Solo, Yogya, Purwokerto, before we hit our final destination : BANDUNG ! – the city we (specially ME!) never get bored to be for its shopping centers and food paradise are always tempting and heaven for us. We want to see and experience in Java land, what Bali does not have.
Friday, 23 October 2009
Final preparation : While I was still struggling with packing problem : what to bring and what’s not! and this has been an area I haven’t mastered yet, and at the end Benny is always the one who wrap up everything for me..:p , well Benny had done his final check list in making sure our maid knows what to do during our absence, and bought mineral water in gallons bottles, gas supply for cooking, left our contact details and some money for emergency, etc..Unfortunately something bad happened to me one day before our departure to Java : I had my back tendon twisted right next to my spinal bone, it hurts sooo much, I couldn’t barely walk, and here I was at Bali Galeria Mal, had to do one last groceries shopping for our trip snacks, with a limp walk, and had to drag my feet super slow, the security at the mal gate starred at me with this strange (and mean) look! I could only say one thing : Why me, and why now?…:)
Day 1 – Saturday, 24 October 2009
03.25 Pray to God that our trip will be a safe & fun one, Amien! Most importantly : JAVA MAP : checked! (like most women, often I don’t understand how to read map…it took 10 min for me to find Madiun, and Bart shook his head several times, I noticed that!), I still couldn’t believe we’re really going to Java by car and not by plane!
It was Kuningan Day in Bali, I noticed some balinese people were already on their way to the temple to pray and bring offerings, the women, in their best Kebaya and traditional costumes for the men! Woww…! There’s a little bit sentimental feeling as we’re leaving Bali, our beloved island, and Bali in the dawn was awesome..There is no way for Benny to let some great photo moments pass in front of his eyes, we stopped every time he spotted one stunning view of nature or an object, and I knew from the beginning I would find a hard time to choose the pics among all gorgeous ones he always takes..but here are some for you..
06.05 A ferry boat was ready to welcome our car in their ‘garage’, to bring us across Bali Strait, departing from Gilimanuk Harbour to Ketapang Harbour in Banyuwangi city, East java. It takes about 45min to 1 hour to arrive in…JAVA land!!! Very soon the air, the atmosphere, the accent, the people got changed drastically…I knew it’s going to be one crazy long trip ahead, but we’re excited.
07.30 – 10.30 3 Hours driving. Our first stop destination is to have lunch at Pasir Putih (means white sand) Restaurant in Situbondo, East Java, I remember with my university student trip back in 1996, this place was great, with direct beach access and indonesian buffet lunch, and a chance for us to refresh ourselves: take a shower (actually, it’s indonesian bathroom, so a water bucket shower is more precisely) and change cloths. Surprise, surprise…there were literally only me and Bart at this almost lunch hour, and they didn’t have buffet lunch if it’s not a school holiday season, and their sumatran food (Padang) was…sooo disappointing, speechless…
Our next destination was Surabaya, the capital of East Java,and I’ve NEVER been there! Bart’s cousin would be our host there.
13.44 – 14.48 Stop over in Probolinggo City, known as Mango City. I was thinking if I could stand this road trip as my bum felt : so hottt!!! for sitting for hours in the carrr…Hang in there,Bee, still a long road to go…
I realized (just realized) that it was the moment for me where I could get very emotional with some little stuff like : traffic jam, wrong road taken, hungry stomach, tiredness, and I couldn’t help it, as the syndrome comes every month..:(( I also realized that driving a car from Denpasar to Surabaya is not like from Jimbaran to Candidasa in Karangasem, and the highway road in the evening is so much dangerous for us with these bl***y big overland buses that were trying to kill us. It got to the boiling point where I could not take it anymore, with a loud scream from the top of my lung, I said to Bart that we would just skip Surabaya, and go straight to his mother’s place in Madiun, East Java and spend a night there. I’ve even said : “Let’s just pass these Java cities, forget about Solo & Yogya too (which were our main nostalgic cities), and go to Bandung, strraight!!… But Benny, my man, the most patient guy on earth I’ve ever met, just gave this lovely smiles that cooled my nerf down…and we were on the way to Madiun then.
The same question hit me back : why me, and why now…Because when it’s my turn to take the wheel, in Gempol, East Java, there was this most crazy lunatic traffic jam I’ve ever experienced! 2 Hours stuck in the car, and literally : not moving anywhere, and that’s not all, folks! Apparently the bumpy road has been like that since more than 2 years, and nobody knows why the local government does nothing about it…
When we asked one guy next to our car if we’re going on the right direction to Madiun, he shocked as much as I did afterward that we took the WRONG ROAD….#feelslikebangingmyheadtothewall100times# and the great thing was : there was no turning back unless we follow this road till the end …of nowhere…Dear God, I thought I’ve prayed enough for the last 7 days before this road trip day, that we need Your guidance…in every street and road we should take (yes, I was hoping God send His angels to say to Benny and me : take this street, turn left, turn right, etc…).
We were supposed to arrive in Madiun around 8pm, but with so much dramas going on (my drama queen side, actually), we landed at Bart’s mom/grandma house at 11pm, with the rest of my energy on that crazy long day, I tried so hard to give my best smile to her..oh forgive me, Tante!..Bart’s family was awesome, and I couldn’t get a much warm welcome more. His grandma is the oldest person in this Wayut Village, 94 years old, still walking without a stick nor any help, and still making her own Tempe (one of indonesian most favorite food made from fermented soya bean, and the ‘best friend’ of Tahu/Tofu) !! Amazing!! And I couldn’t stop laughing as people here talked to me in javanese language, east java accent that I could barely understand, but it was fun and I will be back to this lovely city!
Day 2 – Sunday 25 October 2009
I usually am not that easy to get a good sleep when I arrive in a strange and new place/city, but the road trip from Bali to Madiun really took all of my energy, I slept like a baby, and woke up feeling good about a new exciting day I’d have.
09.53 – Left Madiun, destination : SOLO, Central Java, the most important city of this trip, as it was the place where Bart and I met <3 . It took about 3 hours less to get to Solo, and we passed some beautiful cities in East Java. Pasuruan, for example, they called it : Furniture city, as they produce lots of wooden furniture and send across the country.
13.00 Solo, at last! Even if it’s just one short night, I enjoyed touring this city, My God, it’s been long time I haven’t visited this place. The city develops like any other big cities in Indonesia : big malls and amusement park, tall high rise building for hotels & business centre, not to mention : apartment/condominium – does Solo people really need to live in an apartment now? Hmm…it’s probably the jakartans people who own most of the apartments, like the case in Bali..
Solo was called Surakarta in the past, the modern culture is mixed with a strong javanese culture, and you can see the international chain hotel or bank, but it still has lots of traditional and cultural sights to offer. They recently launched the one and only Steam Locomotive called Sepur KluthukJaladara as a city tour train, circling around the main city attraction for visitors. A visit to Surakarta Royal Palace is also not to be missed.
Too bad I didn’t have much time to visit the famous Pasar Klewer-a traditional market selling Batik, at a very affordable price! And starting tonight, I’m officially sick : bad cough, flu, sore throat…If we didn’t stay in a nice and clean hotel I would’ve been worse..
Day 3 – Monday 26 October 2009
Yogyakarta, here we come!
12.11 Left Solo for Yogya. I remember taking this express train from Yogya to Solo, cheap, clean and fun. But by car, I had a fun time too. Same as Solo, Yogyakarta is a city that still keep its strong javanese tradition and culture in their people’s everyday life, and the tourism lives from these two elements too, main thing they have to offer for visitors.
But a bit different from Solo, I could still feel the strong presence of old traditional life even at the center of tourist place such as Malioboro Street, the famous street to get everything about Yogyakarta souvenir. The ‘Becak‘ (traditional push cart) driver who speaks javanese to us (to Bart, actually, as he speaks perfectly the language), all the street names are written in both latin and old javanese scripture, and I didn’t see big malls or condominium or hypermart like in Solo. Everyone seems like dressing in Batik in my eyes, or is it because I spent hours in Pasar Beringhardjo (Beringhardjo Market) where they sell everything in Batik : shirt, dress, bags, sandals, etc.
Oh I wish I had more time to explore this city.
To be continued…
Solo : IBIS HOTEL
Jl. Gajah Mada no.23
Tel +62 271 724555
Fax +62 271 724666