When Fear Knocks on My Window

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fear

Fear is knocking on my window
when my spirit is low.
It’s making an exquisite show
of how my life could be a flop show.

My mind is freezing,
my limbs are numb.
My heart is racing.
It feels paralyzing
as worries start to come.

I don’t like the feeling
when fear makes me bow down
because I’m not a weakling.
The alarm in me is going ring ding ding.

The charm is broken
when the words are spoken
“Fear, I’m going to be open.
I have an option
to turn the situation.
We shall see the master of this person.”

29 May 2013

Soaking in the Sun at Balekambang Beach

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Saturday, 20 April 2013, we were going for a picnic by the beach!

My father was home and was willing to drive us to Balekambang beach in southern part of Malang. Early in the morning my mother and I started to prepare some dishes and condiments to bring to the beach. My sister had gone to school. It was a shame that she couldn’t not go with us to the beach.

I’ll give you a little information about Balekambang beach. This beach is located in South Malang, in Bantur District to be exact. It has white sands and 3 small islands; Ismoyo, Anoman and Wisanggeni. In Wisanggeni Island there’s a Hindu temple called Pura Luhur Amertha Jati. This temple makes Wisanggeni look like Pura Tanah Lot, Bali.

Hindu Temple at Balekambang Beach

Hindu Temple at Balekambang Beach

The journey took 2 hours from Kepanjen. The road was good enough , though a little small. There were many rice fields and sugarcane plantations on the way. I was sleeping almost all the way as I was quite tired. When we reached the beach, there were so many people and a group of Aremania (Arema Football Club Suporters). It was a bright sunny day that day. I’m not a keen beach person, so I shied away from the sun and tried to keep myself in the shades. Andhin, Astrid and I went to explore the beach a little and let my parents have time together.

The three of us then prefered to sit in the shade, away from the scorching sun until we felt hungry. When we were hungry we tried to find my parents so that we could have our picnic lunch together by the beach, while enjoying the blowing wind, two tones of blue meeting at the horizon and the sound of the crashing waves.

Having Fun Like A Child in Jawa Timur Park 2, Malang

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After having fun on Mt. Bromo, which I’ve shared with you in my previous post, the three little (literally) girls were heading to Malang. My hometown. Before that, let me tell you how we  left Sukapura village, so should you go to Mt. Bromo and stay there you will have an idea how to go back to Probolinggo.

We reached Yoschi’s around 10 am. The hotel reception informed us that we could take public mini bus to get to Probolinggo bus terminal. But… only God knows what time the mini bus would pass by.  There was enough time to have a shower and to take our breakfast or let’s say brunch. We even had some time to take a nap. At noon, we checked out and were hanging around at the reception area while waiting for the mini bus. Time moved extremely slow when you’re waiting. At 1 pm, we grew a little bit impatient, as we wanted to reach Malang before night. The reception guy sugested us to rent a car to to get to Probolinggo. The rental fee would be Rp 200,000. There was a German girl, who was at the same boat with us, then we offered her to share the cost. She agreed to it as she also had a train to catch. The Receptionist then made few phone calls. He said we had to wait a car from Probolinggo to reach Sukapura in one hour or two. Again, we were waiting for over an hour. When the car finally came, it started to rain. He was driving through the rain on a small winding road like a dog chasing frisbee. Just imagine that. It made my stomach sick.

Upon arriving in Probolinggo, the driver didn’t take us to the bus terminal. He simply went directly to his company. When I asked him why he didn’t take us the bus terminal, he said it was his company’s policy. It irritated me, because if it was the policy, he should have mentioned it earlier when we told him that we wanted to go to bus terminal. Anyway, don’t be surprised! This case also happen when you take a shuttle from Cemoro Lawang or Sukapura to Probolinggo. It happened to me before. I didn’t want to argue, so I asked a passerby how to get to the terminal. He asked where I wanted to go. I explained that I wanted to take a bus to Malang. He said that I could just take the bus accross the road.

The journey of Probolinggo – Malang took more or less 2 hours. The non-AC bus fare was Rp 13,000. After reaching Arjosari bus terminal in Malang, we had to take another bus to Blitar because my house is in between Malang and Blitar. Finally after 1 hour journey I reached home. There was only my mother at home. My sister was doing her extracurricular activity. We were all tired and hungry. but my mother has prepared a feast. The initial plan was to sleep after having dinner, but we kept on talking and talking at the dinner table. When we couldn’t hold on anymore, we retreated to sleep for the next day an adventure was waiting for us.

Jawa Timur Park 2

On Friday, 19 April 2013, we were going to Jawa Timur Park 2. I didn’t know how to go there by public transport. Initially we planned to hire a driver as there was a car at home and none of us had driving license. Yet we couldn’t get anyone available to drive us there. We decided to “hijack” a public car to take us there. The rental fee was agreed at Rp 250,000. It took us around 2 hours to reach Jatim Park 2. We were very excited to be there, especially Andhin. Jatim Park 2 main attractions are: Batu Secret Zoo and Zoology Museum. Andhin was thrilled because she had wanted to visit the Museum. The best zoology museum in Indonesia which I’ve ever been, I must say.

We started by exploring the Zoo. At the entrance we were “greeted” by South American giant rats. Astrid, afraid of anyt

Nutria: Giant rats from South America

Nutria: Giant rats from South America

hing which has fur, shuddered and was screaming frantically seeing those peaceful giant rats. It was just the start. Later on we saw more cute furry  little monkeys. I must say this zoo is modernly managed and from my quick assessment the enclosures meet the requirements of 5 Freedoms in animal welfare. This zoo has amusement park with various rides, water park as well other attractions. We, 3 adults, kept on wow-ing all the time and running around in excitement being in this zoo.

Captured by Kong

Captured by Kong

We couldn’t stay too long here as we still have to see the Zoology Museum. This museum has many diorama which immortalize animals and their realistic habitats. The animals shown there are of high-quality taxidermy works obviously because the preserved animals look neat and real.

Arctic ecosystem

Arctic ecosystem

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Dinosaurs

Ecosystem of bamboo forest

Ecosystem of bamboo forest

We spent the rest of the day at the Museum until it was closed at 6 pm. When we went out, it was raining, but luckily our diriver for the day and the blue mini van was waiting to bring us home.

Mount Bromo: Breathing the Wild Air

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Andhini, my colleague, got burnt out from work. She threw an idea of going to Mt. Bromo and Malang before her class got started. I agreed to it immediately because it means I could go home and see my family. Initially only Andin and I were planning to go, but we could tag along Astrid, another colleague, in the end.

On Wednesday, 17 April 2013, we flew to Surabaya early morning by Citilink. This trip was started with a little tension. Our flight was scheduled at 6 am, but till 1 hour before the departure Andin and Astrid hadn’t showed up. So I thought I’d checked them in and they could get the boarding pass themselves when they came. If they didn’t show up, at least I could still fly to Surabaya and drop the plan to go to Mt. Bromo. I’d go directly to Malang instead.

The clock was ticking, the departure time was approaching, yet there  was still no sign from Andin and Astrid. I started to get nervous.  I said “I don’t care. I’m going myself.” However, suddenly Andin and Astrid showed up together in a rush, 30 minutes before departure. It was such a relieve to see them entering the waiting room.

The Jakarta-Surabaya flight took around 1 hour 20 minutes. Upon arriving at the airport we directly took Damri airport shuttle bus to Bungurasih bus terminal from which we would take a bus to Probolinggo. The fare was Rp 15,000. Before we hopped into the bus which would take us to Probolinggo, we had breakfast at one of food stalls at the terminal. It was cheap and unsatisfying breakfast but it would fill us in till we reached Yoschi’s – a backpacker hotel near Bromo.

From Surabaya we took an AC bus called Rimba Kencana to Probolinggo. Actually the bus went to Jember, but as it passed Probolinggo we just took it. It took around 2 hours to reach Probolinggo. From Probolinggo bus terminal we should take a mini bus to reach Ngadisari. You can locate this mini bus right outside the terminal, on the left side. The normal tariff was Rp 25,000 per person. Normal here means if the mini bus is full. The capacity is around 15 persons. If there are less passengers, they will charge you more. That was our case. They charged us Rp 40,000 each as there were only 9 people, including us that time. After one hour of journey through small road with fantastic mountainous view, we arrived at Yoschi’s.

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Scenery around Sukapura village

We were famished. We took a shower as quick as lightning bolt because the water was ice-cold.  Our main goal was getting something to eat. We wanted to get something warm with nice soup. Bakso sounded perfect! We finally found one house which sold bakso. It didn’t meet our expectation though. The meatball was hard to chew and I doubted if there was any meat at all in it. After lunch, we were having a stroll around the village. The air was nice and fresh. Every direction I threw my sight at, I only saw greenery. It was pleasant to see. While exploring the village we were invited by a villager to her house after she caught us admiring her roses. We could only left her house after it was dark. We decided to directly have dinner and sleep early as we have to get up at 3 am to get to Penanjakan to see the sunrise.

Penanjakan & Mt. Bromo

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Cloudy sunrise seen from Penanjakan 1

The jeep that we rented for Rp 600,000 came to pick us up at 3.30 am. It brought us slicing thick fog through steep little winding road to Penanjakan 1. We reached Penanjakan 1 rather early, so we could pick our spot to witness the sunrise. The temperature was not so cold as it was raining at night. Thanks to that also, we were having clouds hanging in the sky. There was no orange giant ball rising in sky for us that day, just reddish beautiful sky. After the sun had risen, suddenly the air became chilly as the wind started to blow. The very wind shifted away the fog which covered the foot of the mountains. I felt like witnessing someone uncover a mystery.

We felt so cold that to warm ourselves we ate some banana fritters and warm milk on the way down to the parking area. Once we finished, we went back to the place where our jeep and our driver, Agus, were waiting. He drove us to Mt. Bromo. Since there were still some rains every now and then, there were yellow and purple flowers blooming everywhere. The sand was also denser than it would when it’s dry. I saw the beauty of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in rainy seasons for the first time. I had been to Bromo several times, but it was always in dry season.

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Mt. Bromo, Mt. Batok, Mt. Semeru seen from Penanjakan 1

Our driver dropped us at the parking area from where we had to walk to the top of Mt. Bromo. Walking on wet sand wasn’t so difficult, but Andin and Astrid are not mountain girls so it was a little tiring for them. Some people took the easy way to go from the parking are to the stairs of Mt. Bromo by riding horse. They offered Rp 125,000 for a 2-way horse ride. Astrid is afraid of horse. Well… she is afraid of anything which has fur, thus riding a horse is not an option for her. We continued walking and after sometime we made it! We reached the caldera.

It was crowded around the caldera, therefore we didn’t stay long up there. Descending was not an issue. Andin and I were running, while dodging people and horses. We were like children once more.

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Horse to ride on Mt. Bromo

Savanna & Sea of Sand

After Mt. Bromo, our driver took us to the savanna behind the volcano. He described the hills there as Teletubby Land. I found it true. The savanna was filled with yellow fennel flowers. The combination of the scent of grass and fennel flowers made the air smell really good and fresh. It was just a perfect place for relaxation.

Savanna in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

Savanna in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

The last spot to visit in the area is Sea of Sands. This place became famous after a movie titled Pasir Berbisik (Whispering Sands) was filmed there in 2001. That Sea of Sands reminded me of coal mining area, where there was no single tree nor grass live there. We only stayed there for some minutes because it started to become hot.

Sea of Sands by Andhini

Sea of Sands by Andhini

By visiting those four spots, we had visited four cities in East Java; Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Lumajang and Malang as the National Park is located in the these four cities.