photography


Lunar New Year pictures have been sitting in my phone since forever. Although it’s been really late, I think there’s no harm sharing all of them for readers. This year’s been rough year for Chinese descents in Indonesia. Pilkada (governor election) in Indonesian capital city Jakarta whose candidate is from double minority (Christian Chinese) had shook the nation like it never had before. To compare “Christian Chinese” in Indonesia to “Black Muslim” in US is a bit exaggeration since we were never been driven to the corner socially. But you might have understood the similarities between us. Discrimination is inevitable. Short-minded people bash everyone they meet in the street just because they are “different”. They often selfishly proclaim that “majority has power, we kindly allow you to do as your wish among us but you have to submit to us” – more so in social media. The strain has become so strong that I had ever experienced being yelled “Chinese bastard!” by a random woman in the street when I was walking down the sidewalk.

There are so many articles and news everywhere in the world covering about Indonesian intolerance about minority group these days, especially about how radicalism grew wide and bore fruit – even – among moderates. From the eye of majority, CNY is often viewed as Chinese-exclusive ritual. Only few people know that it is definitely not. As you can browse in the next pictures I will show you, there are so many native people from any religion flock around the lion/dragon dance stage to watch and enjoy the performance. Many performers and wushu trainees are native too. It’s not “exclusive” at all.

One of many reasons this huge discrimination exists is because people don’t want to befriend people who has different religious view/ ethnic group. They don’t want to learn and enjoy culture other than their own. Most of radicals make excuse that it is “prohibited to do so”. It also includes “choosing minority whose religion different from them” just because they are told in their book that it is haramm. They say, in country whose majority is X, one shall choose X and is prohibited to choose any other. It is literally translated as “we’d rather choose unjust and corrupt person whose religion the same as us than choosing clean and just person from other religion”. These minorities are criminalized just because they speak their mind about this inhuman concept of “justice”, promoting radicalism and eventually tearing apart a nation. But there also emerges few people from moderates who are fed up. They begin to speak their mind to help powering minority’s struggle… but alas, it only creates endless pointless arguments. And sadly, they never stop.

This year’s Lunar New Year didn’t seem to give off intolerance vibe from outside. However, there are, I believe, people who still think that we live in the same world and together we will be brothers and sisters. Let us hope the second round of governor election will end in peace for both sides.

Wijayakusuma flower (Epiphyllum Anguliger), which is Sanskrit word for “flower of victory” bloomed beautifully in my house’s frontyard this year. Perhaps there seems nothing special about it, but for me, Flower of Victory’s full bloom is something that I admire a lot.

I’ve written something about Wijayakusuma flower – dated back in February 2012 – I mentioned that this flower rarely blooms, only once a year during midnight before this year. Because of it’s awfully short, I often miss seeing it in full bloom like this. As for the reason why it blooms rarely, it may be due to the weather. But this year, when I thought the weather would be really bad for flowers (it got this weird warm yet humid air) it bloomed one by one – always every day! It stopped blooming after every single flowers had sprouted from the leaves. The flowers only stayed for less than 6 hours, from midnight to about 6-7AM in the morning the next day.

Wijayakusuma was brought from China to this land during Majapahit era, long before Portugal or Dutch invade Indonesia. Javanese people believe that “people who see this flower blooms, will get blessing”. It may be due to the flowers’ short lives. As why it’s named “victory” – I haven’t had any idea…

As usual, taken without edit from my Nokia N8 phone (gosh, my phone’s really ancient). There is not enough background light since it was taken in about 5AM in the morning and Nokia’s flashlight wasn’t good. I wish I had better phone or pocket camera I can bring everywhere, but I have to be content with what I have for now.

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Ocean Adventure Day 2-4! Two days full of snorkeling, diving, playing fireworks, grilled fish, and rocking boat ride! August Karimun Jawa had really extreme wind speed and slightly wild ocean waves. It’s always been like this, locals said, if you want to enjoy slightly “normal” waves, you can go in March or May (but watch out for random tropical storms… we really got one hell of unpredictable weather forecast here). The locals joked that if there was no wind, our flag wouldn’t be able to stand waving beautifully. Kinda true, though.

Independence Day in Karimunjawa

After preparing everything, especially wearing sunscreen and swimsuit/shirt, we departed from our hotel in Menjangan Kecil for snorkeling at roughly 9AM in the morning. This snorkeling session was hosted by two locals, led by Captain Jack Sparrow!

Bang Jack! >:O

Bang Jack! >:O

He was like true Captain Jack Sparrow, huh? Even Mr. Jerry didn’t know his real name since everyone just called him “Bang Jack” (“Abang” Jack, which means “Bro” Jack… and due to his similarity to our favorite pirate, he became famous in an instant). He was born in Karimun Jawa, being a true seaman since birth, and was said to be descendant of Bugis Tribe – one of Indonesian seaman tribe. The locals were really friendly and knew the sea like their own backyards.

We circled the Karimun Jawa sea to somewhere near Cemara Islands, where there was the best snorkeling spot which was called “Cemara Gosong” Island (literally “Burnt Pine Island”). It was called “Burnt” because it could only be seen during low tide and would be submerged underwater during high tide. Unfortunately it was really in high tide that day, so we traveled back again somewhere around Cemara Island and had first snorkeling session. The waves still were too high for us, two of our tour members immediately lied on the boat deck because of headache. After not-really-successful-session-due-to-weather, we went to Cemara Kecil Island (Little Pine Tree Island) to have charcoal-grilled fish! And extremely yummy! My brother-in-law who didn’t like fish wanted two.

After photo session in super beautiful Cemara Kecil Island (my favorite), we went to another snorkeling spot near our Kampung Bule resort in Menjangan Kecil Island. The waves were small there and we really enjoyed that. Captain Jack showed us how to play with fishes by throwing bread crumbs prepared by him beforehand. And in a second when the bread fell to the water, the fish turned wild and fought over that crumb! Try holding that piece of bread in your hand and these black-and-yellow stripped fish will massage your hand (apparently these smol creatures’ teeth were kinda sharp). I saw Blue Gil there too!

In third day, we went snorkeling again with same schedule like previous day, but I kinda forgot where we went. It was super beautiful island where tourists and backpackers went sunbathing, and there were hundreds of seagulls standing at the beach. When we was about to go there after swimming, someone hushed them and all of the birds flew away >:O! One of our tour member went diving with his instructor, I overheard them saying it cost about 6mils IDR or so (CMIIW). He told us that he saw a giant turtle deep in the sea.

Boss was about to go diving

And for lunch, we spent time in Gileyan Island for another Charcoal-Grilled Fish! Karimun Jawa Island was famous for its “Ikan Kakatua” (Parrotfish), the blue and green fish that was said to clean up corals and the sea. These fish had really soft and tender meat and it was amazingly sweet. After lunch, we went snorkeling again for the fourth time before we went to Wisma Apung near Main Island – “Floating Houses” – for rest because the day after we would need to get on ferry in the morning. Due to circumstances, I couldn’t snorkel with everyone this day so I annoy my sister by throwing her bread crumbs from boat and feed the hungry fish below the boat. Looks like these little hungry creatures knew that boats coming to them meant “delish restaurant for fish”.

Wisma Apung Karimunjawa

Wisma Apung Karimunjawa

For this one, I wouldn’t spoil the experience living in the middle of the sea (lol). But one warning from me, don’t be an ass when you stay here. The fresh and clean water was taken from Main Island because there was no way you could use sea water for bath and drink – so please respect other inhabitants by saving clean water. In Wisma Apung, there was small “Penangkaran Hiu” – Blac-Tip Shark Breeding Zone. You could swim with these cute and friendly sharks there. If you wanted to go to the Main Island, you would need to pay some for Wisma Apung boatman.

In the next day, we went back to Java Island by ferry and oh-god-not-again-night-bus. The ferry ride was really disheartening, though. Although I was glad it was clear day and we could ride it – the waves were really scary. When I sat inside the ferry, I didn’t want to think about anything but to take drugs and had my mind wandering around dreamland for four hours. When I woke up in between, I could see the world shaking like crazy so I just forced myself to go back to sleep. While waiting for the Night Bus, we traveled by taxi sightseeing Jepara, a small and beautiful port town popular for its amazing woodworks. At roughly 6PM we took the bus to Bandung – thank Lord it didn’t have shrieking brakes nor burnt smells even though it still had inhuman speed and Initial-D’s “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was” overtaking every single vehicles on the road.

jepara-moo

Jepara, small port town in Central Java

And that was the end of our four days adventure in Karimun Jawa! Thanks to Mr. Jerry as the guide of “Ocean 21 Adventure” tour, all boatmen and fishermen locals and really amazing chefs there. Below Read More are pictures of Jepara!

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karjaw1

Karimun Jawa. Untouched, natural beauty of Java Sea. Located in northern part of Central Java province, it consists of 27 small islands, approximately 80 kilometers from Jepara. The population is small, and most of them live in the largest island Karimunjawa. They speak Javanese alongside Indonesian. According to Wikipedia article, the Karimunjawa was once port for pirate activity and uninhabited until British people came to Indonesia. Now it become marine reserve and part of Karimunjawa National Park with many good snorkeling and diving spots. As usual, Nokia N8 Camera with no edit.

Before I write something about my adventure, let me remind you the most important things you should take with you because I regret not bringing them:

  1. Motion Sickness Medication. Don’t try to act strong unless you’re a seaman. That ferry/speedboat trip takes about 3-5hours and the wave is kinda extreme.
  2. Anti-Mosquito. These evil creatures suck your blood like vampires. There’s no mosquitoes in the middle of the sea (obviously), but there are many in other places. There is no malaria, so it’s all good.
  3. Towel and toiletries. Don’t compare the island to Bali’s, Karimunjawa is so isolated and may not provide anything you need. More so, there is no minimart except small convenience shop “warung” in main island. When you visit smaller islands like Cemara or Gileyan, there are only small huts. You may want to have private time there or just do it *cough* “naturally” *cough* in the sea.
  4. Medicines. Your own medicines or just generic ones, doesn’t matter – you’ll need to bring them with you. Karimunjawa doesn’t have clinic or hospital. There’s a drugstore in the main land, but nowhere else beside that. The Red Cross boat will give you first aid and local people will help you when you feel ill.
  5. TELKOMSEL (Phone Provider, Simpati). The only phone mobile/internet provider that works good in these islands is SIMPATI, provided by government-owned PT Telkomsel Indonesia. Other providers have “decent” signal, but only operate until 9PM (I had XL Axiata and accessing internet took ages). I guess if you want to travel around Indonesia, you’ll need to buy at least one Telkomsel’s Simpati SIM Card…
  6. Sunblock and aloeveraEveryone must have known about this already when they decide to go to the sea. I suggest higher spl for sunscreen, but everything is up to you. I’m a mountain guy who never take one and don’t know much about this stuffs. I feel like a grilled fish when I go back to my habitat…
  7. Electricity: extension, powerbank, and batteries. Karimunjawa only has Diesel Power Plant which operates from 6PM to 6AM only. You heard it right: your devices can’t be charged until sunset. Prepare T-shaped extension like [THIS ONE] because normally your hotel room doesn’t provide many. Indonesia works in 220V/50Hz and normally two pin round socket and plug just like Europe.
  8. Sunglasses and hat. This one is optional, but better bring them with you. Sadly I wore (minus 5) glasses so I really don’t fancy having to wear two glasses at the same time.
  9. Cash money. There is no ATM and even there is, only one ATM BRI (Bank Rakyat Indonesia) located in main island. You might not need that many, but better safe than sorry, right.
  10. Sandal. Absolutely you won’t bring mountain shoes to beach, right…

I was invited by my older sis some weeks ago since her friend’s friend couldn’t come and my parents (amusingly) support me to go there. I wasn’t sure about myself joining marine trip at first, but since someone actually invited me: why not? I am still unemployed too. So fast forward to D-Day, we’ve prepared everything (and forgot many things) a day before and took Bandung-Jepara Night Bus.

The bus. Oh God. May be it can force an atheist to think about the existence of Higher Being on the spot and realize that he needs a faith to whoever drive the bus. We took off the bus pool at roughly 6.30PM and arrived in Jepara’s Kartini Port about 4AM, stop to eat dinner somewhere about 30minutes. The speed was like 120kmh in toll road and it freaking drifted like Fast-n-Furious Tokyo DRIFT complete with screaming brakes and burning smells. When I saw outside the bus window, I immediately realized it overtook every single cars we met. I’m glad I’m still alive.

Our journey didn’t end in that 10hours Bandung-Jepara flying bus. We still need to go on roughly 2.5 hours Monday speedboat ride rocking in August Java Sea Wave. It was a clear day but I didn’t want to experience boat-drift-and-furious once more so I asked my sis a motion sickness medicine. Collapsed to dreamland for 3 hours afterward and finally arrived in Karimun Jawa main island. Wooo!!

Look at that clear blue sea and sky! Welcome to Karimun Jawa! I was told that the ferries and speedboats aren’t always depart, which surprised me. If the weather is bad, no boats can cross to the island; so you’ll have to wait for the next day since they only depart once per day in the morning. The sea isn’t so friendly in August either, so I am really happy we finally made it safely. Mr. Jerry, our guide, told us that there was one trip that people just wanted to cross the sea despite the horribad weather so they boarded small fisherman boat to go there. It took them 5 hours rocking ride in extreme waves, felt like they could be thrown to the sea at any moment (but for local seamen it was nuthin! I admire their strength…!)

Menjangan Kecil Island

Menjangan Kecil Island

We arrived in our resort hotel “Kampung Bule” in Menjangan Kecil Island (unfortunately the google map doesn’t provide its name. Menjangan is “Deer” in Javanese but unfortunately you won’t see any deer there). I feel like my pictures taken by phone couldn’t serve any justice on the beauty of this island. The white sand to blue sky gradation and whatever I found inside the water body… I can only suggest you to go there yourself and see it with your own eyes! Our resort covers entire Menjangan Kecil Island, 15 rooms for guests in huts and 12hours electricity just like the rest of the islands. There are many plantations here, not just coconut tree. The people living there are just guests and hotel employees (and sometimes tourists who did island-hopping), and other creatures like mosquitoes, gecko, mantis, three dogs, fish, crabs, shells, and birds.

Menjangan Kecil (Cloudy) Sunset

Menjangan Kecil (Cloudy) Sunset

There were many swings like this one for tourist photo spot (I admit random swings like this and sea scenery is beautiful) and also in the island tied to strong tree branch. I recall there was a hammock too and a net for beach volley ball. Resort’s chef cooked delicious food and the grilled fish was really good! I loved her tongkol balado (sweet-chili-sauced mackerel). They’re Javanese, so they tend to put sugar in the tea. It was too sweet for my Sundanese tongue, so we only ordered plain (slightly bitter) Jasmine Tong Tji tea.

In the western side of island, there was a spot dedicated for sunset gazing. Not only that, the spot next to it (fenced with bamboo) was border to the most beautiful snorkeling spot Menjangan (Marine) National Park. You could snorkel your way from beach, but better hire a fisherman boat who knew best snorkeling spots and they would bring you to open water. At the beach, it was also home to various kind of fishes. When we were there, Mr. Jerry’s acquaintance (a local fisherman) snorkel his way and harpooned a huge fish. We also caught a small (poor) crab trying to hide in the sand and watched two small fish built their nest under a coral. They brought materials (sand, shells, and huge branch[?]) with their mouth and shoo away other fishes who approached them. Kinda cute.

Menjangan Kecil Sunset Hunting

Menjangan Kecil Sunset Hunting

At night, we went to bamboo-built dock and lie down there for stargazing and playing fireworks brought from Bandung. But due to super strong wind, the fireworks flew above the resort with huge bam (instead of above our head at the dock). Sadly it was full moon and the moonlight was too bright for stargazing. The plankton’s light couldn’t be seen because of that too.

Below read more are the pictures for Day-1, including sunset and Menjangan Kecil beach.

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No more writing debt this year! Oui! >:O

This years’ Eid Mubarok long holiday, my family picked Farm House in Setiabudhi, Bandung, as travel destination (Pops didn’t want to come so… welp). We had prepared for the horrible traffic jam before, so we left home right when all Muslims had Shalat and arrived at about 9AM in the morning. Guess what…! The Farm House, where we could see a miniature hobbit hole, was really full and we couldn’t find any empty parking lot! The condition was so horrible that every single private cars are forced to park on the side of the street or in front of someone’s house. The queue was so long that we quickly decided to abandon this planned travel and went to somewhere near instead.

Lucky for us, there was another travel destination near there, it was Floating Market, Lembang. It was located at Jalan Grand Hotel No. 33E, Lembang and had decent size parking lot, so even though the visitors increased double, we still could find some empty lot to park our car. And hey, the journey was also worth it.

As usual, every pictures were taken by Nokia N8 Camera (I know I should have gotten something better than that). I took some pictures with my sis’s Nikon DSLR too, but since the camera wasn’t at home at the moment, I couldn’t get the data.

Floating Market, Lembang

Floating Market, Lembang

The entrance ticket + car parking fee was about 110k IDR for five of us (20k-ish for one person). Once you enter inside the site, you’ll immediately enjoy the sight of “Situ Umar” (Situ is Sundanese for “lake”). The lake was preserved and blue. A boat decoration was placed as photo spot and some tree trunks could be used as chairs. You could trade your Floating Market entrance ticket for free coffee or snacks too. Enjoying nature with a free hot/cold coffee. Who wouldn’t want.

There were some gardens and facilities in Floating Market Lembang: The ROCK garden, Floating Houses, Kid’s Park, an aviary, farm geese, a miniature rice field, rabbit houses and a train museum. The ROCK was a garden full of… well… rock. Couldn’t describe it easily by words, but had its own beauty. Sad thing was some impolite visitors often breached the fence to take selfies inside. Just seeing them behaving like that made me want to throw their cameras and cellphones to nearest water body.

Anyways, the next was Floating Houses. This one was also photo spot, but you could also get inside the house. The white one had big table and chairs inside, but was locked. The smaller ones was empty and didn’t have any room (just a miniature houses), but you could also find a small chair in one of the house. Different than any other floating houses, these miniatures were close to boats, connected by bamboo bridges and tied with strong rope to the land so when you stepped inside you could feel it rocking.

Floating Market's Situ Umar

Floating Market’s Situ Umar

Many more pictures and stories below read more.

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West Jakarta as seen from (former) 6F office

West Jakarta as seen from (former) 6F office

When I browsed my phone, I found some old pictures when I was still working in Jakarta. I think it’ll be a waste if I don’t share them here since (in my opinion) Jakarta’s sky was beautiful. I mean, look at that picture! It’s rare for me to see a clear sky without cloud in my hometown, Bandung. Bandung is located in higher altitude than Jakarta, surrounded by mountains, so we only had uniform sky. Seeing white sky everyday sure makes you bored.

If you live in Jakarta, try looking up to the sky. Sometimes you’ll find beauty you have least expected.

Jakarta's clear sky one afternoon

Jakarta’s clear sky one afternoon

West Jakarta's Clear Sky

West Jakarta’s Clear Sky. Is it Wisma Barito?

It reminds me, I haven’t written anything about Jakarta and the train. I saw my blog’s views increase exponentially since Eid because that “Losing Yer Train Booking Number? Don’t Panic!” post (looks like there are at least 20 Indonesians lose their booking number everyday and try to google how to get those back lmao). Now let me tell you some about Jakarta train station: Gambir.

Sadly, I forgot to snap some picture of Gambir Station (partially because I was – always – almost late. Don’t be like me).

Gambir is the largest station in Jakarta (although nowhere as big as Umeda), located near Indonesian National Monument in Central Jakarta, adjacent to few government offices and police station. Just like all other train stations, there are many restaurants and convenience stores inside. From South Entrance, you’ll see the train gate and some machines that will print your ticket once you input your booking number.

If it is your first time in Gambir, worry not. There are many porters wandering around here and there offering services and some securities in uniform. You can ask them how to print out your train ticket, and they will gladly show you how. If you haven’t booked, you can just ask them. Hopefully they will show you to the locket or information center. After getting the ticket, you can go inside the gate to board the train (only one hour before departure). Don’t forget to show your identity card (or passport) to the staffs before entering the gate – the ID and the name in the ticket should match or it’s invalid. I think the procedure is pretty much like in the airport. Behind the gate, you’ll see another shops and convenience stores and stairs. Check your destination and take the right stair, because another will lead you to other train to different cities. If you don’t know where, ask the security again. Most of them located near the stairs and will always be there to guide. If you’re still hesitant, once the train stops, there will be stewardess checking your ticket before you board the train. These stewardesses don’t always show up, though, since the schedule is often tight and people are rushing in and out. There will be announcement in both Indonesian and English once you board the train, including the name of machinist, stewards, and the stops. I’m sure you won’t have hard time being there.

I personally think most of Indonesians boarding the train are friendly. I remember one time I chatted leisurely with an uncle from Jakarta wanting to visit his daughter in Bandung. We end up talking about delicacies and how he went to Bogor by train just for local noodle, it was a fun ride. Plus point: Jakarta-Bandung’s by train has really beautiful view because we’ll see farms, mountains, and you can experience crossing Dutch bridge built 300 years ago and getting inside a very dark tunnel without any light for a minute.

Taman Bunga Nusantara Black Swan Statue - Main Entrance

Taman Bunga Nusantara Black Swan Statue – Main Entrance

Last year’s Eid, I and my family went to Taman Bunga Nusantara… eh? Yes, you read it right lmao – I kinda forgot to write an article about it even though I’ve already uploaded the pictures in media >_

Taman Bunga Nusantara (Indonesian Flower Garden) is founded by Mrs. Suhardani Bustanil Arifin, wife of one of famous politician in Indonesia, in 2012. She wanted to bring Indonesian flower to International audience by building an agricultural industry and enjoy their beauty. The garden alone is located in Jalan Mariwati KM7, Desa Kawungluwuk, Kecamatan Sukaresmi, Cianjur, West Java. From what is written in the official site, it opens everyday from 8AM to 5PM (GMT+7). The ticket is quite cheap, about 30,000IDR or about 3USD (lol). You need to pay for additional fee if you want to visit greenhouse, riding Dotto Train or tram, or enjoying facilities in kid’s park.

For more information, you can visit the official site [HERE] (I think it’s a bit outdated, but still relevant). Here are pictures I took with usual Nokia N8 Camera. Credit to me isn’t necessary but please don’t use them for commercial purpose.

Taman Bunga Nusantara Main Entrance seen from inside

Taman Bunga Nusantara Main Entrance seen from inside

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