Friday, August 21, 2015

Hello, You Beautiful Thing

For you who started to think that I began losing interest in my “Conquering Indonesia” project, you’re wrong.

I know I skipped a month. After Harapan in May and Pahawang in June, I should have gone somewhere in July. But don’t you dare blaming me for that. My beloved office didn’t give me even one day off for Eid break so, ya, there I was, trapped in Jakarta while everybody else flew out and about.

Then came August, thank God, finally. Another long weekend was waiting for me in the middle of the month, and guess what—

It was the Independence Day of Indonesia.

What an occasion, no? That could be my chance to show how I really meant getting to know my own country. How I would explore my national treasure ‘till the last second of its big day, despite the fact that on the next day I should go back to my routine. It was just the time.

So I deliberated to myself, “hmm where can I go in just three days, somewhere colossal, and different from my previous two trips?

I know.


What’s not ‘colossal’ about this? I’ve been exposed to the name since I was still 8. One of those famous names printed on my social science modules along with Danau Toba, Way Kambas, Taman Laut Bunaken, Pulau Komodo—I mean, names like Ora, Derawan, or Raja Ampat were just noticed in recent years, but those four, as well as Krakatau, were classics.

As usual, the process to reaching Krakatau was also ‘colossal’. I booked a spot on an open trip long before my departure day on August 15th, but guess what—on August 13th, the operator told me that my reservation didn’t come in. Oh, what the hell, universe, please. Not today, not for the Independence Day, not when I have a long weekend to—done, I booked another spot with another operator, while my mouth kept complaining. And that is just why I love myself.

More obstacles got in my way. From super slow bus, freaking wheel pulled off of my ride to the pier –yes, it broke off the main body of the car, and I saw it rolling away from the road, amateur sailors, mosquito raids, annoying participants—God, there were so many obstacles.

But then, the ocean always knew how to soothe my anger.

Underwater Krakatau was mesmerizing. I must say that it wasn’t anything better than Pahawang or even Harapan but, I still felt that it was worth the sacrifices. I got down the water twice, and got up the boat with an amazing souvenir each: scratches, cuts and blood from the first spot, and - this one is crazy - a story of me crossing path with the most gigantic non-whale fish I ever seen with my very own goggle on the second spot. Once again, this one is crazy. Bad news was I didn’t bring any underwater cam so I couldn’t get any proof to the land but, I swear starting from now, I’ll make my own research about this fish.

So. Three days trip, in a colossal place…
What made it different from Harapan and Pahawang?

The majestic Anak Krakatau, that inherits the grandeur of its long gone mother.

I’m not a mountain guy. All these years, have you read anything mountainy? No. But this is a special case. I want something for this year’s Hari Merdeka. Plus this mountain is not that MOUNTAIN like Semeru, Kerinci and all those sleeping giants people seem kept hiking lately. Anak Krakatau is still a kiddo so guess what—amateurs including me, can climb the path all the way to the highest point allowed.

So right on August 17th, my group and I trekked up Anak Krakatau. We all wore red and white outfits, brought our best spirit up the new mountain. And we had a little ceremony. Gathered together, sang “Indonesia Raya” and “Hari Merdeka” oh God, I got goosebumps when singing those. I even get chills on the back of my neck just now when I remembered that moment and typing it down here.

Then everybody got busy with their own photo session. I, remembering that I was on my own as usual, spent my time standing there, enjoying my on-top-of-the-world moment, seeing the endless horizon before my eyes. Mt. Rakata and Lang Island were there too, completing my scenery with their gallant existence. And the mighty sun slowly climbed up the sky of Lampung, was hidden behind clouds but somehow could find a way to break through and spot its fluorescent ray on Sunda Strait.

I never seen such picturesque landscape. It’s like the universe—the ocean, the hills, the mountain, the sky and the sun, were conspiring to make the most of my Independence Day contemplation.

It was calm, despite the crowd.
It was warm, despite the breeze.

Fuck, I really love this country.


The biggest fish I ever saw in Indonesian beach,
The biggest frame of Indonesia I ever saw from above.

Now guess what—
I’ll be back, you beautiful thing

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