Monday, April 28, 2008

Sun shining

Since i came to Banda Aceh, my religious life has i wake up earlier in the morning to take a Shubuh Pray. In consequence i have a new is take a break of day picture from my house tower, it's quite cool, i see how Banda Aceh wake up and staring their new day, including me of course. then i'm going to my loved office, and memorizing how Banda Aceh prepare to sleep while i'm on the trip to go home with my mobile phone camera.

I think i loved Banda Aceh already, i remember how i feel so stressed when i'm going to my office when i'm still living in Jakarta, the high traffic started from my home access road, Oh My God........then i spent about one and a half hours facing the traffic. With anger and snappish, when i just come to the office, my staff start to reporting any complaint for our customer WHOA.....whereas i still so tired with the trip.

And now here i am, at Banda Aceh......wake up at 6.30 PM, take a pray, go bath and going to the office which only take 20 minutes with traffic free. when i just come to the office, i take my breakfast first for about 30 minutes then start to work with such a wonderful career life. To bad i only have 2 months left to live. my office will no longer exist in Indonesia because the mission is almost over. i'm gonna missed Banda Aceh.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sabang Island

Sabang Island….

Sabang island also known as Weh Island, it’s the westernmost of Indonesian archipelago. After almost 3 months I living in Banda Aceh, last week end 19th April 2008 I have a chance to go there.

At 9 PM, start from my boarding house I go to Ule Lheueu Harbor in Banda Aceh. Actually the boat will go at 11 PM but we have to come earlier because they have a limited seats. I buy 4 economy tickets, Rp 60.000,- each person.

It’s a fast ferry, Sabang island reached in 45 minutes, if u like to sailing in a longer time you can choose a slower ferry, it takes 3 hours to reach Sabang island…..also in a cheaper price off course, only Rp 15.000 per person.

11.45 PM we came to Balohan port, Sabang have two port, the other one is a free harbor where a cruiser been there once.

My friend already book a car with driver before, so when we come to Balohan, someone come a near. He is our driver with his old white Toyota crown, well I think there’s no good car rented here even Sabang was famous with their luxury car which sale in a cheap price (Sabang is a free port , CBU car from Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand like lexus, BMW or even Ferrari can landing in this island without any taxation).

And for this old rental car we have to pay Rp 450.000,- per day……….my suggestion is if you want to come to Sabang, better you come in a big group so you can share the transportation fee, because they give a same price for any kind of car……….like kijang or L300 from Mitsubishi.

We decide to go to Gapang beach first to find a hotel, then go around Sabang island after that. Along the trip to Gapang, I see so many beautiful views. I think Sabang government already try to beautify their city, they plant a beautiful flower along the road. I don’t know what’s the flower name, but I think it’s look like sakura flower from Japan.

in some area there’s a Monkey habitat, the monkey will draw near toour car……..some tourist love to give them food.

It takes one hour trip to Gapang, wow it’s such a beautiful beach. Before go around we check the hotel first. Our choice is Gapang Resort, it’s a resort with so many cottages, considering the budget and our anxiety to sleep alone we choose the smaller one, actually this cottage is for 2 persons but we insist to sleep together at that room, thanks God the hotel keeper agree.

It’s not a luxurious one, but with the wood wall and floor, it’s totally ethnic and cool. Still the bathroom are made by ceramic and brick wall. This cottage is completed with an air conditioner, and it’s cheap I think….only Rp 200.000,- for all.

And now is time to have FUN!!!

We go to Iboih beach, next to Gapang, it takes 15 minutes to go with a car.

In Iboih we can buy any souvenir or beach dress at their one and only souvenir shop. My friend said that Iboih already leaved by tourist, Iboih before was so beautiful but now I see so many neglected cottages mixed with maintained cottages. Because it’s already lunch time, we take a lunch at Oong café. Here they only serve instant noodle and French fries. Rp 8.000 for noodle and Rp 15.000 for French fries.

Many tourist from around the world has come to Iboih beach years ago, they introduce the villagers a new lifestyle, here you can find a little boy speak fluently in English, a girl wearing a bikini, or a restaurant serve a beer. Come to Sabang make me feel like hundreds kilometers from Banda Aceh.

Iboih have a really wonderful view under their sea, if you don’t like to dive or snorkel you can choose to sail a boat with a glass window at their floor, at the most beautiful area the boat crew will turn off the boat machine then we can see coral and decorated fish swim under the boat. This boat also go around Rubiah island, a small island next to Iboih. The boat crew tell us that years ago, Rubiah island is a place to quarantine Hajj before they go to Makah, in this island we can found so many colonial inheritance, now some body has built a cottage there. For this Glass Windowed Boat we have to pay Rp 250.000,- go around Rubiah island or Rp 100.000,- for Iboih to Rubiah and back to Iboih trip.

Actually we want to swim but when we took our leg to the water I see so many ‘Bulu Babi’ there, Bulu Babi is a harmful animal, once we touch this you’ll feel a deep pain, and you know how to cure it? Ask your friend to pee on your wound, YAKS!!! But It’s a panacea.

So then we only watch many people who wearing rubber shoes swimming, or the other one going fishing.

Late night we go back to the cottages at Gapang, take a bath and looking for a dinner. We choose to dine in Dang dang na restaurant, you know what dang dang na mean? It’s mean sometimes available and sometime is not, meaning the menus is not always available. If you want a chicken barbecue you have to order before 5 PM.

They serve more varieties menus, like pancake, noodles, fried rice, sautéing vegetable etc. we can eat and enjoy the sea ambience at night, very nice.

Early in the morning, we go to swim, not like Iboih, Gapang beach has already cleared from Bulu Babi, and the beach have a soft sand also. Even though I cannot swim, I decide to rent a snorkeling tools like fin and goggle, only Rp 30.000 per set. I snorkel about 15 meters from the shore and I see beautiful coral with starfish hidden behind lay under my body and decorated fish swim together with me WOW!! It’s a wonderful time, I see how amazing life there, in this time I sad many thanks to my God to sent me to this wonderful place. But just because I’am wearing a life jacket I cannot touch the coral (despitefully I think it’s prohibited too because these will broken the coral) and Unfortunately I didn’t rent an underwater camera, so I can’t memorize this beautiful sight.

Most domestic tourist like to snorkel but the international tourist more interest to diving, tourist from any country come to Gapang, only for diving, I guess deep under the Gapang water is much much beautiful that’s why they come that far to Gapang. I see them sailing to the middle of the sea and disappear, they reappear at lunch time with satisfied face, actually I really seduced to try, but the dive tools must be expensive and I’m not brave enough too.

There also a diving course established here, one of them was established by an expatriate. He also built a resort (with better managementcompared to indigene resort), if you want to stay at this resort you only have to pay 20 euro per night, but you have to rent the dive tools too because originally this resort is prepared for the divers. They put a slogan like “Never try never know” or “Caution diving is addicted, enter at your own risk” I think it’s right because now I really want to go back to Sabang just for snorkel.

Uuuuh too bad it’s time for us to leave, because it’s almost 4 PM where the one and only fast ferry will sailing back to Banda Aceh.

Before we go to the port we go around Sabang downtown, I see so many luxurious car neglected in the outer court like something priceless. Too bad, I dream how if I can drive that one to Jakarta he he…..

Sabang people has an unique habit, it’s a day sleep, so when we go around the town at 12 Am to 4 PM there’s no shop open, they all sleep or stay at home. The town it’s so quiet……and it’s really small too I think, to go around the town it’s only takes 30 minutes.

4 PM we sailed back to Banda Aceh……..bye Sabang!!! I think I’ll should come again before I go back to my home town, Bandung…………..

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Diwana Cakra Donya

Diwana Cakra Donya

Diwana cakra donya is an event which held by Aceh tourism board. Here was held exhibition and art performance. Traditional housing from whole region of Nangroe Aceh Daroesalam is exhibited, completed with their traditional food, dais on which the bridal couple sits, anything about marriage party kits, craft etc.

In the open air area built a temporary booth which selling food, clothes, toys……

one booth is offering Inai (a hand painting at hand palm, which is originally to signing a newly married women).

In some areas, built many stages………small stages was built at about four location which spread in whole event area, and the big one is built in the main area. At every stage, performed many art performing, like singing, dancing, and also music band.

At this chance, I saw Seudati dance in small stage, I just know that actually it’s a competition……..the contestant was sent from whole Aceh Region.

Like most Aceh dance……….Seudati is a dance which performed by eight young man who wearing songket, selendang, and Rencong (Aceh’s traditional weapon) in their waist. They dance without any music accompaniment. While they dancing, two Syekh is singing, and sometimes the dancer answer the song. The song is talking about religion, culture and current situation. In some part, the audience seem enthusiast to hear what they sang……maybe when they talk about current situation (I don’t understand Aceh language).

Then I move to the main stage…there was held a performing art too, but it’s not a competition, it’s totally performance art. The stage is bigger and fully decorated . I saw Saman dance, Panyot Rato Galo Dance (if I don’t make a mistake), and many dance which I forget the name.

And my favorite is Panyot Rato Galo, Panyot is a kerosene lamp made from tin and fuse, and galo is a fish net. The dance was performed by eight girls which bring panyot in their hands, along dancing, the panyot is flare up. In the middle time, they put the panyot and take a rope from their waist then while they dancing dancing they make some difficult move then POP!!! suddenly the Galo was made. I love this dance because it’s a little bit different with another dance, because the property and the music………they dance not only with the song from the singer but also there’s a tabla and something like a horn played.

But too bad the event is conduct in a late night so now I am really sleepy……………

Monday, April 14, 2008

a kite runner

Kite Runner……a novel by Khaled Hossaeni

It’s a great book, a story about unlimited devotion from Hasan (a hazarat) to Amir (a pashtun). This book tell us about how Afghanistan being living in feudalism from along years ago before they get in a war, where a hazarat (Syiah moslem) is divine as a servant for Pashtun (Sunni Moslem), a hazarat have no right to go school or doing anything to improve their life, their whole live is to serve and sacrifice for pashtun.
And the kite, is a magic thing which represent anything, love, immolation........
Then, about their war, I’m so confuse why so many party want to domineer Afghanistan, North alliances then United States and conflict between Afghanistan themselves.
But as far as i remember, in the beginning part Asef (the antagonist personage) dad is told as an air man (aircraft pilot) who is in my opinion is must be someone tall and muscular, but then in Amir birthday party Asef Dad was define as a small and miserable man......i don't know maybe i just wrong in interpreting these.
For me, this whole book is Great but totally somber.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A thousand splendid suns

A thousand splendid suns, a novel by Khaled Hosseini

Yesterday i was read that book, from the beginning over actually i'm not interesting with this book, because the whole theme of the book is about Afghanistan in war situation which is really strange for me.

But then after one page i found that this book is really cool, i can stop to read even for take my eat time. so then i spend my whole Sunday to read it.

At the beginning this book tell a story about Mariam, a harami (child who is born beyond a marriage) from Nana and Jalil. Jalil is a rich businessman where Nana was working as a servant at his big house. After she delivering Mariam, Jalil put Nana and Mariam at a Qolba across the river which make them secluded from Herat, the city where Jalil and his big family live.

Nana always tell Mariam a bad story about Jalil, how Jalil never defend Mariam in the front of his family and deliver her to this suffering. But Mariam never believe, she even almost hate Nana because of the story, in Mariam's eyes Jalil is a great dad, he always visit her every Thursday and give her so many cute things and tell her stories about Herat and movie which played in his own theater, one of the movie that Mariam always remember is PINOKIO

On her 15th birthday Mariam has one request to Jalil, she want to watch PINOKIO in his theater, with all her step brothers and sisters. But Jalil cannot fulfill it and cannot refuse it all at once.

Mariam decide to go to meet Jalil, even Nana has threaten to suicide if Mariam go.

When Mariam see the gate of Jalil's big house, the guard restrain her. Mariam insist to get in but the guard keep to restrain, Mariam stay until she fall asleep and wake up in the morning and see Jalil's face in the window. Mariam really disappointed and go back to Qolba. She just realized that Nana was right about Jalil.

Jalil's driver sent her back home, but at qolba Mariam really shock when she found that Nana has kill her self when she go to Jalil's house.

With her pain Mariam only silence when Jalil bring her to his house, a house where Jalil's with his three wifes and nine kids are living.

After several days Jalil ask Mariam to marry Rasheed, a shoe maker from Kabul , his business colleague. Mariam say yes, then after her marriage, Raheed bring her to Kabul, away from Herat. At the beginning of her marriage is not really bad, Rasheed really concern about her, especially when she was pregnant, he take Mariam in tender touch. But then the accident happens, Mariam lose her baby suddenly Rasheed become a maniak, he start to hit and yell.

The second part of book is tell about Laila, a smart cute girl Mariam's neighbor. Her dad is a teacher and her mom is a cheerful housewife. But after Laila's two brother go to the war battle Soviet , Laila's mom has lose her spirit for life, she hiding below her blanket almost whole day. So Laila's life are only with her father which really a smart and passion guy.
Laila has a best friend named Tariq, Tariq is a mine victim, he lose one of his foot. They grew together. At that time Kabul’s situation become worst, Laila's brother killed in action.
At a meantime Laila start to fall in love with Tariq and vice versa, then something happen Laila lose her virginity at the moment when Tariq decide to moving to another country considering his Dad's health which become worst after the war rised in Kabul.
After Tariq moving, Laila’s mom agree to move too. Laila was in preparation to sale their stuff and move it to the street when suddenly the bomb crash her house, kill her mom and dad who still stay in the house. Laila was collapse and found her self laying in Rasheed bed, Mariam take care of her until she feeling well.
But then Rasheed mean to marry Laila as a second wife, considering the Tariq baby who’s already grew in her womb, Laila agree. Laila hurt her hand to get virginity blood at the first night when Rasheed came to her room and making love. Rasheed really love her and set Laila as a princess and Mariam as the servant at his house.
Nine month later the baby was born, and unfortunately the baby was a girl, Rasheed really angry and start act like a maniac again, same thing like he was to do to Mariam. Laila named her baby Aziza. Aziza then grew without her dad love, at this time Mariam and Laila has unite emotionally as two mistreated lady, Mariam start to love Aziza. Then Laila have a second kid, now it’s a boy named Khalmai, Khalmai was Rasheed in miniature, Rasheed really love him.
When Mujaheedin taking over Kabul, Kabul start in awful situation, hunger, people killed everywhere, women come become a widow. At that time Rasheed’s shoes shop was burned and their family become a deep hunger. Rasheed sent Aziza to charitable institution.
Then Tariq come back to Kabul and start to meet Laila, Rasheed was angry….at one moment they in a heavy fight when Mariam get involved and hit Rasheed head until he is dead. Mariam ask Laila to runaway with Tariq while she facing law which will threat her. Laila and Tariq married and have a happy life in Pakistan, together with Khalmai and Aziza.
The story is ended with action of Laila’s family going back to Kabul and have a happily life with Mariam’s inheritance from Jalil while Mariam’s ended her life in the gallows as she sentenced to die by hanging.

Sometimes I think Mariam’s life was really unfair compared with Laila’s……come on, Laila have a kids, a loving husband and even money!!! And she’s pretty too. But see Mariam, she is unwanted since she was in the womb, and it’s happens along her life until her death. Whoaaa….but it’s only in my opinion, as someone who has no skills in literature, well I just love to read. But for the whole, I love this book.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cofee house

Talking about Banda Aceh must talking about their coffee of course.....
i choose one coffee house near a river, place named Chek Youkee, i ask for a glass of milk-coffee, they serve it with some cake.
Their coffee is really nice but suddenly i remember that i've promised to my self to stop consuming coffee because it's make my heart hard beating and hard to breath, yeah well the coffee is already in my stomach.

I'm going home after and cannot sleep until the next day he he

But after all the place is great, so many visitor and the cake is nice and cheap.

Lhoong waterfalls

no cinema, no pool, no mall, no friend, HOMESICK .....i think i'm going die here.

But suddenly my colleague at my office ask me to go to a place called Lhoong waterfalls. considering about that i have nothing to do in my spare time so i agree to go.

It's about one and a half hours journey, lacing beach side and crossing the river which will flew to the sea. Here i see how tsunami wave is higher than most building there, it's remain on coral on the beach. And how a former hotel is now only a rock foundation left.

There's an international organization build a great street to calang, next town after Banda Aceh.

I see Andalas cement factory too, with their machines and great vehicles i felt like come to an industrial city.

A long road, rising curve, twist and turn with a beautiful view in the right side. We can see sea and green mountain at one blast. Pretty cool......

Now here we go....
Lhoong waterfalls is still natural, i think no one manage this place as a tourism destination professionally. But for me, it's a great place.....with their cool water and the rock and anything. this time i decide to love Banda Aceh.

Next Day

Not a big surprise when i found that it's really hard to find a temporary resident in Banda Aceh, especially a cheap one.
I need one day full to find it, finally i found. Such really a horrible place. A 9 m2 bed room with thin wood as a separator to another room, i can even heard someone breath in the next room. My matron not serving anything except a thin foam mattress, uuh what a pitty.
The worst thing is the bath room, with cement floor and gray water and smell like a mud. the water will keep
you dirty even though you take a shower three times a day.
And for this cool pl
ace i have to pay 300.000 rupiahs/month.

I spend the next one month to looking for a better place to stay, after talking with my new friend at the office finally i found it. a complete bedroom with bed, suitcase, table and even Wifi!!!
The most i thankfull for this place is their pure water, now i can take bath and get neat and clean.
And for
this new place i pay only a little bit expensive from the old one, i truly don't understand about this.

As a big city girl (i spend my last ten years at Jakarta after Bandung), i need to find anything to entertain my self. second day at Banda Aceh i mean to watch a movie or something, but wow Banda Aceh have no cinema, the one and only cinema has been closed after Tsunami and never opened a
nymore. But they have a Cd store which sale dvd, i noted my self i have to buy a notebook (what kind of life without this thing?).

Then i go arou
nd again hope i found something, then i see a billiard club. But no girl play a pool in Banda Aceh, it's a men's game here.

Maybe a mall!!! last time in Jakarta, when i have nothing to do i just going to the mall and i can spent my 6 or 7 hours there. But ..... again, here is no Mall. The biggest shopping center is a 3 floor building which sale clothes, and daily needs like food and amenities.

Then i decide to going home and sleep..........

Living in Banda Aceh

One of my dream is,

going to another place, away from my hometown for free and in fact i get paid WOW!!!!!
and suddenly i got that chance. Not go abroad, only going to another island, Banda Aceh.
Banda Aceh is
about four hours flight from my hometown Bandung.
i've hired by an international organization to be one of their engineer

The first time i saw Banda Aceh from the plane, i see a lust tree in their forest and many Tsunami scrapt still there. What i've think is "could I living in this town?"
From the airport to downtown is such a long straight quite street. with not much vehicle or housing, next time i know that Banda Aceh is about too large for their people (consider about
the tsunami and earthquake who take hundred thousand Aceh inhabitant).

5 hours in Banda Aceh i just know that i have to wearing a 'Jilbab', actually jilbab is something that every moslem girl have to wear and it's written in Al Qur'an but just because in my hometown we have no human law which will judge us if we're not wearing this so not much people love to wear this, including me of course. but here, there's WH who will check are
we people wearing this in public area or they will take us to their pick up car and show us to Banda Aceh people like we are a criminal :-).

When we're flight with a cheap Air company....we get no lunch or something to eat, not even a finger snack, that's why the first thing to do when i landed in this 'Makkah Porch' is looking for food.

The first restaurant i found is Aceh Rayeuk, with their special menu is Ayam Tangkap. Which is a chicken in small pieces combine with crisp temburu leaves, pandan leaves and chilie all fried until it's crunchy. I think it's a unique and delicious, i love it.


Why we all dreaming?
because we are alive

Dream is alive
life is a dream

When we stop dreaming
then we're not alive anymore