Postcards From Central Java: A Short Getaway With A Lifetime Memory

Going for a meeting during Jakarta’s rush hour can be quite a tough decision-making moment that its citizens have to face. You gotta choose between driving your car – or sitting comfortably at the backset of your Uber ride – but will be most likely late for your meeting, and order an online ojek (bicycle ride) that is twice faster yet could be quite tormenting with the humid weather and pollution rate.

If it’s for a meeting, or any time constraint events, I’d always choose the later.

Last Friday, I had an after office meeting, and only had about 1,5 hour to get into the meeting point. Thanks to Jakarta’s traffic, Google Maps told me that it would take about 2 hours. Not wanting to be late and in the name of trying to impress my potential client, I ordered the online ojek and hoped that I could get there in only 30 minutes.

However, I spent 1 hour and 15 minutes sitting on the motorcycle, with my driver trying his best to avoid every traffic jam that we encountered. The moment I arrived at the meeting point, I was drenched in sweat, and I stink like an old bus muffler. I walked directly to Topman to buy new clothes only for the meeting, and well, yeah for a wardrobe upgrade (LOL).

Anyway, spending 1 hour – which almost caused me a back pain – on a motorcycle, fighting your way through Jakarta’s cruel traffic made me missing a short getaway that I had just few months ago to Central Java. I’ll post details about several places and experiences that I got from the trip in another post. It was quite a short getaway over the weekend, yet it gave me one of the most remarkable memory that would last a lifetime.

As for now, please enjoy 9 best photos from that trip!

 

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The sky is blushing when the sun greets her in the morning.

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Sun-kissed.

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A loner looking for some gold.

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Because everything today has to be captured.

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Rockin’ my yellow jacket.

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Sitting above the clouds.

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A nice morning talk on the top of a hill.

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When you have the gleaming sunrise as your backdrop.

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The heights didn’t scare me. Imagining my camera fall down and hit the rocky bottom did.

Wait for more details of this trip, will ya?! Geesh, I literally have tons of content lining up to be posted here. Speaking of which, one of them will be good news and A BRAND NEW EXCITING stuff for The Perks of Being 20! Curious enough?

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

A Sleepyhead’s Attempt to Write About A Weekend Adventure

An adventure is only an adventure if you don’t know where it leads you. Don’t you agree?

As a spontaneous person, I love making adjustments and changes in the middle of my adventure, of course it depends on the circumstances that I’m facing.  As a matter of fact, I did that a lot in our adventures and explorations in the city. To be specific, one of those adventures happened on a particular Saturday morning, during a long weekend in April where we decided to do a little sunrise photo hunt.

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Snapchat-ing on an empty bridge.

As you read in the few first paragraphs above, you probably wonder, “What are these 2 doing waking up very early on a freaking holiday?” Well, we thought of that as well. A few regrets passed my mind when I grumpily made my way to the shower that morning. What can I say? It was the love of exploration that kept me up and dressed at 5 AM on a national holiday.

The spot we intended to visit was a very long bridge that connects Citiwalk to Kasablanka. For such a long time, I’ve been passing this bridge every week on my way to church. It was only a few weeks ago when I started noticing that it is always empty in the morning. Plus, the view at 6AM when the sun started to appear on the east had always been captivating. This gave me an exploration idea that I soon proposed to HG, who is always keen for more photo opps.

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All blacks with a pair of white kicks.

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So there we stood, on an empty bridge at 6 AM in the morning, wearing all blacks. I was wearing a black hoodie from Forever 21 (simply because it was cold), a snapback from Topman (because I didn’t have the chance to cut my hair for months), a black t-shirt from Uniqlo (because, I didn’t want to be shirtless), a black skinny jeans from Pull & Bear and my all time favorite white converse.

HG, who was also in all black attire, was wearing a snapback, a long tee and a skinny jeans, all from H&M. He added a touch of blue by wearing his favorite blue scarf from Kana Goods along with a pair of white Nike hi top kicks. Here’s a few more photos of our morning faces that weren’t actually ready for any photos. Honestly, I really tried, but I’m just not a morning person.

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High top white Nike.

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Tight graffiti. Not.

Feeling unsatisfied with only one spot, we decided to visit a cemetery we’ve been dying to go to. Just to make it clear, we don’t mean that literally. I still have long years ahead of me, and I pray to God I will make it till I’m 100. Okay, this is the caffeine speaking.

So this cemetery isn’t just another cemetery. It is a war memorial cemetery for the dutch soldiers and high ranking officers who served in Indonesia during the war. The sad part is, it is one of the most well managed cemetery I’ve ever visited in my own country. Come on Indonesia, you can do better in honoring our own deceased soldiers! Maybe, I should run for the presidential candidate in 10 years and fix this? Okay, this is clearly the caffeine speaking.

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Trying to be a bad-ass daredevil.

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No, I do not have a bugs bunny tooth.

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Trying to look slick.

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Trying to be a bad-ass daredevil part 2.

So as you can see above, this cemetery has its own church. If my observation was correct, it has a mosque as well. We were probably trespassing in some of those photos, but if you know us, you would know that we didn’t really care. I was more scared of falling down from that high ladder compared to getting caught by the security. Allow me to call them “the guardian of the tomb.”Sounds quite awesome, ain’t it right?

Another photo spot we had fun on, was of course the gravestones area. It was very well maintained, it didn’t feel like Jakarta. It felt like I was somewhere in Rome since everything was very catholic in visual. Because of that, we decided to explore a bit more and take some more photos.

I tried looking gangsta, but I looked like weeping mother Mary, no disrespect. HG tried the praying pose, although I personally thought he was falling asleep in this photo. He’s a light sleeper.

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Is he praying? I can’t really tell.

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Don’t mistaken me for Mother Theresa in black.

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“What do I want for breakfast?”

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“How many plates should I have for breakfast?”

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Because sitting on a rocky floor is sooooo comfortable.

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Hands in frame. Kicks in frame. Half a person in frame. Whatever.

Even in our sleepiest and hungriest state, we still gave it our 106%. We want to give you a good content. That was why we took quite some time in this area, trying to wake ourselves up for better photos. Trust me, we tried a lot of poses and angles! Squatting was one of them!

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Squat game on point.

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Tired, sleepy and hungry, we went to grab some food. To Mall Ambassador we went!

Too bad the mall was opened at 10AM. We took some time to explore the parking area and took more photos to kill time. If you ever find me in a tired, sleepy and hungry condition, please feed me. Or else, I would look grumpy like one of these photos below. On worse condition, I would start laughing. That’s your cue to stay away and call for professional help, like a vet or something.

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“Just fake tying my shoelaces.”

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“Hey girl. Your daddy must be a drug dealer, cos you’re dope.”

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Well, you’ve reached the bottom of the page. That means after we took these photos, we finally had our food and rest. As of now, the clock says that it is already 2AM in the morning. I still have to go out and print my thesis, visit the Japan embassy to get my visa tomorrow morning, edit photos for my travel blog and… woops! I mistaken this post for my to do list for tomorrow!

Have a great week ahead! Keep exploring!

DR. (@demasryan)

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Breath-Taking Bromo. 2015.

I have only known Bromo from my geography class when I was still in Elementary School. I have never really seen the actual Bromo until Nan Triveni Achnas made “Pasir Berbisik” in 2001. That was my first glimpse of Bromo. And that was it, until this year.

My best buddy asked me to go with him to Bromo for his pre-wedding photoshoot. I was excited of course, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I have always been more of a beach person and was never really been a mountain person. The only concept I know about hiking or spending some time on a higher ground was camping in Puncak, or going to Bandung, West Java.

What got me all excited was the idea of spending several days with some of my favorite people, outside Jakarta. Bromo was only a place to go to. Another, so I thought, place for tourist to go sightseeing and then leave with some nice photos.

Apparently, I was wrong. The Bromo experience was way more than that.

We had to wake up at 3am to catch the sunrise. Okay this is new, I’ve seen too many sunsets, but I’ve never seen any sunrise. Normally, I’d still be sleeping when the sun rises. So yeah.

I was told that I had to wear mask to cover my nose, my mouth, specifically my lungs, from the sulfuric air. I was told to wear boots, because it’s not really a friendly environment for any of your beloved fancy kicks. It has to be boots. Well, if you love your shoes that much just like I do,  boots is the only option. I was also told to wear layers, so I did. I put on a comfy tanks with a long sleeved denim shirt, with a thick sweater (which I’d only wear in winter countries), and a super thick wool knitted shawl. I took it fashionably serious.

And there I was, stepping out from my comfortable hotel room at 3am. It was freakin cold, and the sulfuric air was undeniably annoying. The bright side though, the sky was full of stars, which was a rare thing to see if you’ve been living in Jakarta your whole life.

We hopped on to the jeep that would take us to our first stop, the Bukit Cinta (the Hills of Love, it couldn’t get any cheesier than that), to watch the sunrise. It took us about 30 minutes ride, I couldn’t really remember because I was sleepy as hell, and the journey was bumpy. It’s not really a good deal for your empty stomach to endure such trip that early – so a little tips, before you leave your hotel you might wanna grab a snack or bread, otherwise you might get all dizzy and wanting to vomit during the trip. And it’s all dark outside. Can you imagine being inside an airplane at night where you can’t really see anything and you have to experience a heavy turbulence? Yea it’s four times worse.  So I just closed my eyes and tried to sleep, even though I couldn’t, and prayed that this will be over soon haha.

We stopped at the bottom of the hill and we had to hike all the way up. It took me perhaps only 5 minutes or less to reach the top, but it felt like FOREVER. I was running out of breath.

When we got to the top, it was almost 6am. The view was magnificent. When the sun made its first peek behind all the mountains – like a shy cute puppy hiding behind a wall, I literally held my breath and stopped moving. It’s really beautiful and it lasted longer than watching a sunset. I couldn’t describe it in words here, you have to experience it yourself.

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Sunrise

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First time experiencing Sunrise

We climbed down the hill at 7-ish am. And moved to another spot, the Savana, it’s a huge cogongrass (ilalang) fields. The sun was out already, but it was still freezin cold. Some of the grasses even had ice on it. From the Savana you can see the top of Bromo covered in mist.

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The Hills of Love

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Savana

We had a break for breakfast which we brought from the hotel and ate it inside the jeep. Oh by the way, we were staying at Java Banana Hotel. I’d really recommend Java Banana because it’s very comfy, clean, has good service, and most importantly the foods were delicious. I dislike hotels that can’t serve good foods.

Another stop we made was at the Pasir Berbisik. I’ve never been to Dubai and went to its Desert Safari, but I’ve seen some photos of it in Google, and from what I saw, this Pasir Berbisik area is pretty much the same. As far as you could see, it was all white clean sands greeted by the blue sky and rocky mountains afar.

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Savana

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Pasir Berbisik

We took a lunch break, and a short power nap before we continued our journey. I didn’t really remember what was the name of our last stop, but it’s pretty much like the Savana, but it’s quite far and pretty much hidden. We spent the afternoon there, enjoyed the mesmerising golden hour, which as you can see from the photos were pretty much look like the Desert Safari in Africa. From to Dubai to Africa.

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Golden Hour

We waited for the sunset before we headed back to the hotel, changed our clothes, cleaned up, packed our bags, checked out and left the hotel. We continued our trip to Surabaya, but that’s another story. We left at 7pm and arrived in Surabaya at 10.30pm, I slept all the way of course.

So yeah, to sum it up, here are some few tips to Bromo first-timer:

  1. Make sure your powerbank and camera are fully charged.
  2. Wear boots! My boots were all dusty.
  3. Wear layers!
  4. Had a mini breakfast before you leave the hotel.
  5. Choose your travel companions wisely, I thank God for this troops I traveled with.

 

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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The Bromo Troops