Saturday, January 31, 2009

The journey continues

Day 1 (Saturday 24th January 2009) – Damri

After collecting my small pack, I headed out the arrival gate. I stopped by the rows of money changer and change a hundred Ringgit into Rupiah. I asked the man behind the counter where can I get a Damri. He gave some direction and off I went, brushing away taxi and ‘ojek’ touts.

What exactly is a Damri? It’s a bus service to and fro the Bandara (short for Bandar Udara also know as airport). It seemed that the first mode of public transport that you would see after passing the touts is car rentals and taxis. I had to ask a few people where was the Damri. I walked towards what seem to be the end of the airport. Until I finally found the signboard and eventually the ticket booth.

As instructed by Mutiara (via online chat and again, sms), I bought a ticket to Bogor. It cost me IDR 30 000. I sat on the bench and waited for the bus. Busses to all destinations seemed to have come, except to Bogor. I waited. And waited. I ‘sms’ed Mutiara telling her that I was still waiting for the bus. Not long after I sent the text, the bus arrived. It was probably around 5.30pm (sorry, on this journey I didn’t bring my Tungsten T5 to jot things down).

I sat next to a man.
Me: Maaf pak, bisa bantu nggak? (translation: Excuse me sir, can you help me?)
Man: Ya bisa. (Yes, of course)
Me: Bisa bantu turunin saya di Citeureup? (Can you help me to get off at Citeureup?)
Man: Ya bisa. Ntar kasi tau sama abang tiket. (Yes, of course. Later [we’ll] tell the ticket man)
That simple request helps to break the ice. His name is Nur. He works in a bauksite (the thingy used to make aluminium) mine somewhere in Kalimantan. He was on his day off to see his three children and wife in Sukabumi – about three hours bus ride from the airport. Though he didn’t look educated, he sounded educated. We talked about various things ranging from demographic in Malaysia, education system in Malaysia to guessing my age and even a little ‘personality reading’ of my name. According to him, my name indicates that I am a good leader, and I more often than not, do things my way. I’m not sure about the first part, but I sure do things my way quite often.

An hour and a half later, the bus exited the highway to Citeureup. I bid my goodbye to Bapak Nur. I secretly thank him for without his constant chat, I might have doze off and missed the stop. I gather my bags and got off the bus, on to the roadside. The bus continued to Bogor.

Day 1 (Saturday 24th January 2009) – Reunion

It was 7 pm and already dark. Unsure where to wait for Mutiara, I tried to telephone her. The call did not got through. I smsed her. Almost immediately she replied. She would be a little late because it rained. I was asked to stay put. And so I did. I stood at the corner of a chaotic road.

There were small stalls along the corner. The small stall on my right was selling some deep fried food. The stall on my right sold drinks, buns and cigarette. There were other stalls, but I couldn’t see what they were selling. The stall on my right was manned by a lady. She had two benches – one on each side of her stall – and two plastic stools.

My feet began to ache. I wanted to sit at the bench, but I felt guilty seating there for free. Feeling a bit thirsty, I bought a bottle of mineral water from the stall on my right.
Me: Berapa, bu? (How much, madam?)
Lady: Dua setengah (Two and a half)
Assuming that she meant IDR 2 500, I gave her IDR 3 000. True enough, she returned a little piece of coin – IDR 500 - to me. I sat on the bench and drank the water. I observed my chaotic surrounding. There were men helping to guide the traffic. Amazingly, even without the men, vehicles just knew when to stop (often at the nick of time). I regretted not putting my fisheye lens on the 400D beforehand. Taking out the camera and changing the lens by the roadside wasn’t really an option. I didn’t want to attract unwanted attention.

After waiting for about thirty minutes, I got a sms from Mutiara, asking my where-about. I replied and immediately stood by the roadside, just in case she had hard time finding me sitting down. I look left and right, unsure where she would come from. Turning my head right, I finally saw her walking with MP from across the road.

Unlike the first time we met, this time we forgo the formal handshake. Mutiara and I hugged like old friends.

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