Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Closer, Closer

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So I missed the plan for the second half of 2017.

Damn I've been crazy busy lately you won't ever imagine how it's like to be me -lol who am I again?? But seriously. Juggling with three jobs, two personal projects, and one busy life as an adult at the same time is not quiet like a good idea. I feel like I barely breathe, and have much too limited time to do stuff including to update this blog, and the next thing I know, boom, it's October, and I missed the plan for the second half of 2017.

But no worries. On July, I still had no idea what I was going to do for the rest of the year anyway, so the post will only be full of bullshit. Oh but wait. I knew at least one plan. One, thing, that I did last year so randomly, and I kinda suspected that I'd do again this year. One thing that really matched my "Restart Project".

Formula 1 Race.

Yep. I did it again this year. Was talking to a co-worker about F1, and this little -yet awesome- spontaneous guy inside of me somehow urged me to "buy the ticket for a Grand Prix like right now!" and ta-dah, there I was, in front of my desktop, with my credit card raped.

No, it wasn't Singapore again -man, the price of the ticket was such a ripoff!- so I bought the other one that you might guess. Because as the second GP ever in my entire life, of course I would try the second closest one from home. Yea, it was


Pic's from here.

No considerations. But no regrets. Especially because the ticket consisted all three days of the Grand Prix -the freaking expensive tix I bought for Singapore, was only for the Race Day. But nothing made it better when they announced that it was going to be the last ever Grand Prix in Malaysia. The image of me being a part of the ending of what had been going on for the last 19 years, and how it matched my coming there, I couldn't be any more grateful of that.

The waiting was extra draining, but it was worth the excitement. As when I saw the drivers arrived one by one in Sepang, knowing that they were only 5000kms away and one hour ahead of me, I INSTANTLY FORGOT ABOUT ALL THE WAITINGS!

Then came the weekend. It was oh another spontaneous trip I haven't done for a fair long time. Only packed one bag, which I brought to the office -yes, I didn't want to lose any dayoff so I still went to the office before my flight, caught a late night flight to Malaysia, arrived early on  Saturday morning, took a quick power nap by the airport lounge before heading straight to the circuit which was only several kilometers away from the airport, and decided to stay at a capsule hotel at the airport, well, I must say, I never know anybody who can plan a trip more effective than myself! HA-HA.

Okay enough talking about the trip.
This is not a post about traveling, Vick.

Okay, day one! Day one, was quiet of a bummer at the beginning. Overall it was unbelievable, of course, to be able to wander around the F1 circuit one more time. Plus, this one was much better as I had more access. But I missed the first session of the drivers interview on the stage. And it was Red Bull, the team I'm supporting! Still I got to see Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, even Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel but, I WAS FLYING THERE FOR DANIEL RICCIARDO OH GOD AND I WAS SO CLOSE IN SEEING HIM!

Alright! Chill.

So I missed the interview, not a big deal. It's not like Daniel talked to the fan one by one -if that's really what happened, I wouldn't forgive myself for missing the interview. I still got to enjoy the whole day by taking photos here and there, getting free 360 and free podium jump celebration photo ops, shopping trinkets, enjoying the Free Practice and hell yeah, the main course of the day, the Qualification. After all I returned to the airport fulfilled and hopeful, because on the following day, there was still the drivers signing thing I could take part of.

And so I woke up earlier on Sunday.

Checked out early from the hostel, had early breakfast, and took the earlier bus to the circuit. But of course, when you thought that you did good, somebody else did better. When I got there, the line was like that of a Justin Bieber concert. And that's only the line entering the circuit. When I reached the stage where the signing would take place, God I swear, I felt like I lost any faith in life. It was too long, the queue. And all the people around me were pretty sure that we didn't stand even a chance. But what the heck I tried anyway. Even if it was only Jolyon Palmer, I wouldn't mind -at least he could tell Daniel that I said "hi" to him.

But I think God still wanted me to try harder.
And so they announced that the signing was over.

I was so pissed. Two hours standing, less than halfway to go. If only I woke up even earlier, and ran  even faster, I could at least be close enough to the stage that I could shout to attract Daniel's attention. But well it was just a bonus. The main dish was still the main race, and so I kept my head held high and stepped to the grandstand I was assigned to.

Luckily, the race was damn good.

I was so worried that rain would ruin the whole race, but it only showered until a minute before the lights out! So all my worries about this race would end up so boring-ly like Singapore two weeks earlier, it all washed out along with the rainfall. And the race itself was, I may be biased because I was there and it might sound a bit defensive, but the race was to me one of the best in 2017.

The drama was real. The leader changed from the default Hamilton to Verstappen, who had been a bit underestimated because of all the engine problems he suffered. The slippery track made it even more exciting. But of course, the one I screamed so loud about, was Daniel's attempts to regain his place on Top 3 from the Force Indias and Bottas, and, to defend himself from Vettel ho surprisingly accelerated like devil from the bottom to P4.

I swear I was all squeaky like an old lady. It was so tight towards the end, between Daniel and Sebastian -I'm sure if there were one or two extra laps, he's done. Best part was, I was surrounded by Ferrari fans. So being all so loud and cringy while Vettel was trying so hard to reach Ricciardo's ass, I swear people were looking at me. But I don't care because I WAS FLYING THERE FOR DANIEL RICCIARDO OH GOD AND THOSE MANEUVERS WERE SO CLOSE!

Finally it ended, and Daniel finished third. Never once in my life I felt so manly -or not?- for supporting some sport stuff with all my heart. Well. What a race. If my day ought to end on that exact second, I wouldn't mind.

But I think God still wanted me to try harder.
And so they opened up the gate from the grandstand.

My adrenaline came rushing. This could be my only chance to get closer to Daniel, remembering that I missed both of the first two chances. Plus, he got podium. Along with Verstappen who finished first. There had to be something going on around the main grandstand.

So I pushed whatever was in front of me. I swifted like an antelope, snatched any empty spot like a cat squeezed itself inside a cardbox half its size. I ran like I've always trained myself days before the race, leaving those slow weaklings before me and joined they who had arrived there in front of the main grandstand. The Dutch national anthem finished playing, and the trophies were all distributed when I arrived in front of the podium. I was so close to him...

I took photos like it was my wedding: A LOT. And even after the drivers left, and people got fed up taking pics, I stayed. I didn't know why but I told myself that I needed to stay, just to fulfill my need to be around the atmosphere. After 30 mins I felt like I had enough, so I began to clear away from the podium front, and walked along the garage.

And I saw these people climbing up the fence in front of a garage. I was too tired to do the same, but like a spotlight from heaven, I saw this one empty spot among these people, ONLY ONE AND I'M NOT TRYING TO MAKE IT LIKE A SWEET SERENDIPITY, calling me with such grand bliss, waiting to be climbed.

You wouldn't believe what happened next. Or you would: I climbed, of course. But what you wouldn't believe is what I saw in front of the fence I climbed.

It was Red Bull's garage.

I don't know how else to say how lucky I was. To stand right in front of their garage. Exactly theirs like, theirs only! And the cars were being dragged inside, the mechanics and engineers were working on some parts with such joy, and us here lining up the fence looking at them with pure happiness. It was quiet for a long time, me standing there doing nothing but looking at the garage. But my guts once again told me to stay for at least 15 more minutes, without knowing why.

And he was right.

People from my right started shouting. That kind of shout in a concert where people realize that it's about to start. That kind of atmosphere in a gig where the main star shows a bit of his presence.

Yep, Daniel appeared.

With Max. And the old lady I unleashed earlier during the race, suddenly came back. As a crazy fanboy who seemed ready to jump in and crouch the idol. My brain was blank, and my mouth kept shouting Daniel's name. Only the name, nothing else. I was blinded by excitement I think I forgot other words but his name. No shame at all, because thanks to that restless shouting, he FUCKING WAVED AT ME, WHAT THE HELL WHY AM I SO EXCITING AND TYPING IN ALL CAPS AGAIN? OH YEAH BECAUSE IT WAS DANIEL RICCIARDO WAVING AT ME, AND HELL YEA IT WAS THE CLOSEST I COULD BE TO HIM!

Fuck, chill Vick, that's not even the best part.
No, I lied. Of course it was the best part.

Although what happened after that was also unforgettable to me. They were appearing in front of the garage to do the trophy shots, as they got double podium that race. My camera never once stopped working. Photos, videos, photos, videos, stupid selfies, photos, I didn't want to miss even one second.

Because I was too lucky, and I wanted to keep this forever.

It looks like a photo taken by journalist, eh? But no. IT'S ME!

No considerations.
But no regrets, at all.

Because all my random plans paid off. All my tight, not-staying-in-downtown-not-even-staying-away-from-the-airport schedule succeeded. And most importantly, my wish to get real close to my idol came true -lol it made me sound like a freaky psychopath BUT TO HELL WITH THAT!.

But I think God still wants me to try harder.
Because after all, I still don't have any photo with him.

Maybe next time, next time for real.
In Japan, China, or maybe his home Australia,
I'll be actually that close

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

True Traveler

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I know, I know.

Traveling has been an integral part of my life. And being a traveler has been my other identity. I keep telling this to myself in real life, in this blog, basically everywhere.

But then, there's apparently something about my kind of "traveling", and being a "traveler", that I never discovered before.

Something beyond.

I just realized about this recently. When my parents gone traveling. When a friend came visiting. When a coworker planned having a trip.

It all started with my parents' trip to Japan, for about 10 days. Only the two of them, with no tour, no relatives, no one they know. As a traveler, and as somebody who had traveled there, AND, as a good son blessed by God for them, of course, I helped them with everything. Literally, everything. From booking their flights and hotels, arranging their itinerary and ultimately, assisting them real-time by providing them detailed instructions of where to go now, after this and after that, complete with which transport to take, AND, how to ask locals. It's like I was there, traveling with them.

Then during their trip a friend from Australia came visiting me in town. He went down here absolutely unplanned, taking granted of my expertise in my own city, hoping me to suggest him with whatever. As a friend, and as a civilized human being attempting to give back to someone who was such a big help during his trip in Australia, of course, I helped him with everything. From hotel recos to food options, from just telling him where to go to actually explore with him. It's like I was the one traveling, and he was just a clueless friend tagging along.

Not enough with those two, at the same time something else happened. Remember that I once started an itinerary-making business on my own? Yea, it’s still around. And a coworker of mine kind of needed my help to arrange her trip to... London. As a hungry traveler who wanted to know more about the city, and as a professional, of course, I accepted the job. Creating her one comprehensive, detailed day-to-day itinerary as if I was writing a guide book. It's like I was a citizen of London, telling her what to prepare prior her arrival.

I just realized about this. When my parents gone to Japan and I was the one assisting them. When a friend came to Indonesia and I was the one guiding him. When a coworker planned a trip to London and I, whom never actually been there, was the one arranging her journey as if I had been there thousands of times. All counting on me with not just simple helps, but COMPLETELY counting their life on me—

And with the fact that those three happened exactly at ONE SAME TIME, well, gotta say, my value as a traveler instantly increased.

You do know that I call myself Tricky Traveler, right?

From just a regular guy who traveled,
Doing some normal kind of traveling,
Going home to make a book of travel,

From that kind of traveler,
To a true traveler

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seventy Two

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For the first time in my life,

I got a visitor from abroad -a friend I met on my Australia trip, during Indonesia’s Independence Holiday. Which effectively means that for the first time in my life too -since I had to guide this friend of mine around town, I explored Jakarta and its major tourist spots, during Indonesia’s Independence Holiday.

And let’s talk in Indonesian.

Jujur sebenernya gue gak sabar sih buat menyambut temen gue ini. Namanya Paul. Makanan favoritnya steak, kalo nginep pas liburan selalu di hotel berbintang, dan dia ke mana-mana naik mobil atau taksi. Dia baru pertama kali ke Indonesia jadi gue tambah excited! Karena gue pengen ngenalin makanan-makanan lokal gue yang enak-enak, karena gue pengen pamer kalo transport di Jakarta udah nyaman, karena ini pengalaman pertama gue ke Kota Tua pas 17an, dan karena gue mau nunjukin betapa meriahnya perayaan kemerdekaan di Indo which negara manapun di dunia gak ada yang bikin selebrasi seheboh ini.

Awalnya hari ini berjalan lancar. Mulai dari gue sama adek gue nganter bokap nyokap ke airport, trus pulangnya lewat rumah-rumah di area kampung jadi bisa ngeliat orang-orang lagi pada sibuk nyiapin lomba-lomba, trus ke tempat temen gue naik busway yang isinya orang-orang berbaju merah. Intinya, suasana 17an udah kerasa banget.

Namun, lama-lama semuanya mulai gak beres. Panasnya bener-bener gak karuan, trus museum-museum di Kota Tua, yang harusnya jadi atraksi utama dan alasan pertama kenapa gue ajak Paul ke sana, TUTUP SEMUA -sumpah ya gak abis pikir, ini kan 17an, kenapa malah tutup??? Kalo tanggal-tanggal merah lainnya ya gak masalah lah, tapi Hari Kemerdekaan!?!?, udah gitu jalan-jalan arah Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa semuanya pake dialihin pula, fuck, kesel sih gue gak bohong.

Tapi itu semua gak ada apa-apanya dibandingin pas gue mau ke Istana Negara buat liat upacara penurunan bendera.

Ini kan main dish ya. Jadi gue berharap banget setelah semua ke-rese-an yang terjadi barusan, at least buat yang satu ini beneran kejadian. Tapi dunia berkata lain. Jalan yang ditutup makin menjadi-jadi, sehingga busway gue memutuskan untuk gak berhenti di Monas dan langsung ke Harmoni. Di halte itu ternyata udah penuh gak karuan. Dan bus arah balik ke Monas lamanya gak nahan. Antreannya panjang, panasnya bukan main, dan ketika bus tiba, kita mesti dempet-dempetan masuk dan desek-desekan di dalem bus. Terakhir, busnya ternyata muter sehingga kita gak lewat Monas dan ya, intinya, perjalanan gue barusan itu sia-sia dan cuma dapet apesnya aja.

Temen gue, namanya Paul.
Dia ke mana-mana naik mobil atau taksi, tapi hari ini dia mesti kebawa arus orang-orang busway yang, well, tau sendiri kan betapa liarnya mereka kalo mau naik bus yang udah ditunggu-tunggu 45 menit? Paul baru pertama kali ke Indonesia, dan di hari pertamanya ini dia harus ngeliat betapa bobroknya negara gue, harus gagal ngerasain meriahnya 17an, harus ngerasain sisi-sisi kelam Jakarta yang sebenernya sehari-hari udah mulai gak kerasa.

Gue bisa liat si Paul udah mpet banget. Tapi muka paling mpet ya muka gue. Karena gue pikir bawa dia keliling pas lagi 17an itu adalah ide yang bagus, tapi ternyata nggak. Karena gue pikir ajak dia naik transportasi umum itu adalah pengalaman seru, tapi ternyata bau.

Dia bilang seru sih -yang gue sangat yakin dia bohong, dan makan malem yang gue kenalin ke dia, which were tongseng, pisang goreng, otak-otak dan es jeruk kelapa, katanya enak banget -kalo yang ini gue sangat yakin dia jujur, karena keliatan lah dari mungkenye.

Tapi tetep aja, gue kecewa…

Karena ternyata, meski udah berusia 72 tahun, Indonesia (dan Jakarta) masih buruk banget pengaturannya. Oke buat hari-hari biasa, emang udah kerasa bagus dan rapihnya. Tapi giliran ada hari besar kayak gini, dor, langsung deh keder. Kaget. Shock. Jelas banget kalo persiapannya kurang. Acara-acara kenegaraan yang ditayangin di TV, keliatannya emang mewah. Tapi gak ada yang tahu kan kalo ternyata biar orang-orang bisa sampe di Istana, buat ngeliat “kemewahan” itu, susahnya bukan main?

Tapi bicara soal “orang-orang”…

Selesai main sama Paul, gue pulang naik ojek. Ojeknya agak dodol karena muter-muter dan ngelewatin daerah-daerah terpencil yang -gue pikir gue bakalan diculik sumpah, karena- gue gak tau itu di mana. Tapi justru di atas ojek inilah gue termenung soal, “orang-orang”.

Orang-orang Indonesia tulen yang baru aja selesai ngerayain pesta kemerdekaan. Yang lagi beres-beres gawang bola, yang lagi gotong tiang-tiang buat panjat pinang, yang lagi bagi-bagi hadiah lomba. Semuanya gembira ria dan ketawa-tawa.

Lalu gue teringat seharian ini gue berinteraksi terus sama mereka. Yang ada di bandara, dengan muka cengengesan karena baru tiba di Jakarta, yang dilewatin sama gue dan adek setelah nganter bonyok, yang ada di bus yang bajunya serba merah, yang memenuhi tiap sudut alun-alun Kota Tua dan Sunda Kelapa, yang dempet-dempetan sama gue dan Paul karena semua berebutan pengen liat upacara di Istana...

Mungkin si Paul nggak ngerasa itu menarik.
Tapi buat gue, itu sangat menyentuh.

Karena gue liat langsung dengan mata gue bahwa gimanapun juga, apapun situasinya, mau itu di bawah panas terik matahari ibukota, di antara kerumunan liar, atau di tengah ketidakadilan pemerintah yang bisa nikmatin perayaan 17an sedangkan orang-orang harus berjuang di luar Istana—

Masyarakat Indonesia masih semangat keluar rumah,
Gabung dengan warga lain buat ikut ngerayain serunya 17an,
Dan ngebebasin diri dari kesibukan sehari-hari yang kayak berak.

It’s still a mess, okay,
But honestly, at least
It’s feisty, too