Best Travel Moments in 2013 and Why I Want to Travel More

Medischfun travel quote

Approaching the end of 2013, it’s time to reflect and make resolution for new year ahead. Maybe sounds cliché…make resolutions for new year and maybe some people will forget theirs soon after the trumpet blown and fireworks blasted. But I am not that type of person. Every year I usually make big goals to be reached and usually I work hard to accomplish them. Last year it was Thailand which gave me the travelbug. Trip to Thailand opened my eyes and reminded me of my other passion (besides Medicine), is to travel.

Since I was a kid I want to travel the world (well, who doesn’t?). Me and my family travelled a lot, although only domestically, but they always encouraged me to see the world, gather experiences, and taste everything new. The most important thing they taught me is to pursue my passion, no matter what it is.

I grew up with the passion to see the world, then, I fell in love with Human Medicine. When I entered my Medicine study, I don’t want to forget my travel passion, so I sticked a World Map on my bedroom wall. My very bestfriend who know me very very well always sent me birthday card with text : “Hope your wishes to travel the world will come true”.

This year, I learned and experienced a lot, and here I write some of my best travel moments, because some memories are just too precious to be forgotten and worth to be written (typed?) down so it will last, hopefully, forever.

#Unforgettable View

It was a scenic view of rice fields, long and thick bamboo forest, surrounded by green hills, blue mountains and clear blue sky which took my heart away. A road to Batutumonga peak in Tana Toraja, the Land of the Dead located in South Sulawesi. The road is long and bumpy, but sitting on the motorbike for almost two hours with aching pain on your butt is nothing compared with the price…

Batutumonga Tanah Toraja South Sulawesi

#Unforgettable Experience

To sat inside a bamboo hut, ate pa’piong (traditional Torajan food, pork with spices cooked inside a bamboo), under the hut was living pigs walked around, waited to be slaughtered, meanwhile in front of me was living and anxious buffalos, stood there watching their friend’s bodies laid on the ground, cut and left only head and horns… Next to me was another huts, full with people in black clothing, the relatives of the man who died a year ago, mummified and kept in home until the family ready to held the Torajan Funeral Ceremony, and buried (or put inside the stone grave) after then.

Torajan Funeral Ceremony South Sulawesi

#Unforgettable Fun

Transformers The Ride, USS. Hell yeah it’s good to be kids again! To enjoy the ride, experienced those visual high-tech and felt as it were real, screamed, laughed, and tensed at the same time. Funny was, even on that moment, for a short second, I felt a serene and grateful feeling. A kind of feeling that I want to smile as wide as possible and say “oh thank you God for let me live and experience this fun”. Absurd maybe, but it happened to me. Or maybe it just the endorphine. 😀

Transformer the Ride USS

#Unforgettable Challenge

You haven’t go to Ubud if you haven’t visit Tegalalang. Okay so I took the challenge (actually challenge myself), to bike to Tegalalang. Tegalalang rice fields is maybe one of the  most scenic beauty of Ubud, but it was not the yellow rice fields, nor the smile of the local female farmers which made it unforgettable, but the feeling from a accomplished mission. It was the sweat under the heat, the tiring muscle, the grunting and the self-motivatalk during the journey that made it unforgettable. How I smiled (and relieved) when I finally reached Tegalalang, how I beat the challenge, and how I survived from 10 km biking through some steep hills. It was the survival that made it unforgettable.

biking ubud tegalalang

#Unforgettable Sunrise

Sanur Beach, Bali, the first time I finally made an effort to woke up early to saw the sunrise. I am not a morning person, and after several times I failed, now I know that only persistence can beat laziness. Why choose to snooze if you can experience a view like this?

Sunrise Sanur Beach Bali

#Unforgettable Near Death Experience Feeling

I didn’t realize that I have Fear of Heights before. I am not afraid when I have to ride a roller coaster. Well, I am afraid a bit when I stand in high building. I freaked a little when I use a very very high escalator (like those in some of Singapore malls). I freaked a lot when I have to walked through an old wooden bridge that cross a big river at Maribaya Waterfalls. But I became crazier when I walked through the OCBC Skyway at Garden By The Bay, Singapore. Hell, it is 22-metres high from the ground, with the 128-metres steel-net floor and big wind blew from side to side, I was lucky my heart didn’t stop beating! Will.Not.Do.This.Again.(But.Happy.To.Did.That.Though)

Garden By The Bay OCBC Skyway Singapore

#Unforgettable Overland Journey

I love overland journey! It’s hard to choose between 8-hours journey sat inside the night bus from Makassar to Tana Toraja, full moon outside, mountains, hills, and Gunung Nona view in the midnight, chatted randomly with my travelmate and also one of my bestfriend, no luxurious or fake smile service nor comfortable seat, but I felt so peaceful and comfortable with myself, or 9-hours comfortable night bus ride with massage chair from Johor Baru to Penang, when I awaken by a glimpse of light from the morning sunrise and the beautiful view from Penang Bridge was the first thing I saw. Hmm…I choose both.

Penang Bridge Malaysia

#Unforgettable Food

Despite a lot of arguments toward which is the best Babi Guling or Suckling Pig in Bali, I choose Babi Guling Ibu Oka as the best for my tongue and tummy. A bit pricey, yes, but it worth the size, taste, and experience. I still dream the taste of crispyness and the thick fat under the fried pork skin. Damn, why now I feel like Hannibal? Read the full review and story about Babi Guling Ibu Oka here.

babi guling ibu oka ubud bali

#Unforgettable Drink

Black and strong Toraja Coffee. A sip of this thick black coffee is one of my favourite way to start a day.

toraja coffee

So, why travel? Because I want to collect memories and experiences, not things.

“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security” – Ray Bradbury

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Weekly Photo Challenge : Community

Khoo Khongsi Clan’s name plates of family inherited

Khoo Khongsi Clan’s name plates of family inherited

The first words occured in my mind when I read about this weekly photo challenge theme by Daily Post is : “Chinese Clan”.

Based on Oxford Dictionary, community means :

  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common
  2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common
  3. Ecology a group of interdependent plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or occupying a specified habitat

Clan, however, preceded more centralized forms of community, a close-knit group of interrelated families.  A Chinese clan is a patrilineal and patrilocal group of related Chinese people with a common surname (e.g. Lie, Hoo, Tan, Khoo, etc.) sharing a common ancestor and, often, also an ancestral home.

Well, China has the biggest population on Earth (more than 1,3 billion!), and we can find Chinatown in many places outside China. Although my anchestors are from China, and I also have a Chinese name, but the thought about Chinese clan house was never occured to me before (I am a failed Chinese!! Forgive me Grandmother! :p), until I visited Khoo Kongsi Clan House in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

The Khoo Kongsi clan forefathers came from Sin Kang village in Hokkien province, South China. They emigrated from there to Penang and built Khoo Kongsi clanhouse for members of the Khoo family in 1851. The clan temple was built in 1906 when the Khoo clan was at the peak of wealth and reached the great status and superiority in Penang society. The temple itself is a form of grandeur art, with the statues, paintings, carved pillars in shiny gold colours.

 

The Khoo Kongsi is known as the most majestic Chinese clan house in South East Asia. The clan, Khoo Kongsi clan, together with Cheah, Yeoh, Lim and Tan Kongsi, were known as the Five Big Clans, formed the backbone of the Hokkien community in early Penang. The Khoos were among the wealthy Straits Chinese traders of 17th century of Malacca and early Penang.

 

Today, Khoo Kongsi is a historic site, due to its location in the UNESCO World Heritage Site area of George Town. I wonder how they used to live in this clan house, must be very interesting, to live together in one clan community. And the fact that the house is still there and well preserved after more than 150 years proves that blood is thicker than water.

Meninggalkan Jejak di Pinang Peranakan Mansion

Pemandangan unik yang melepas kepergian saya dari Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Stiker-stiker ini awalnya diberikan kepada setiap pengunjung Mansion untuk ditempelkan di tubuh sebagai tanda pengenal. Menariknya, di samping gerbang pintu keluar stiker-stiker ini kemudian ditempelkan begitu saja di dedaunan tanaman pot hias ini. Tampaknya para pengunjung ingin meninggalkan “jejak”nya di sini.

Saya pun menempelkan stiker kecil berwarna hijau kuning cerah milik saya di salah satu daun tersebut…

Secercah perasaan “I’ve been here” and  “Good bye” menggelitik hati…

 

Turnamen Foto Perjalanan Ronde 31 : Jejak

12 Jam di Penang, ngapain aja sih?

Weekly Photo Challenge : Eerie

[DO NOT READ WHILE EATING]

So, Weekly Photo Challenge theme for this week is “eerie“. Eerie means “strange and frightening“. When this word appeared, suddenly I got a flashback from one moment in my life, when I felt exactly “strange and frightened”. That was four months ago, when I was travelled to Tana Toraja, or Toraja Land. Tana Toraja is a regency located at South Sulawesi Province in Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. It was a sudden and impulsive travel, with no plan and no expectation at all before I went there. The only things I knew was that Tana Toraja is called “The Land of the Dead”, there people celebrate funeral and hold a big funeral ceremony with feast and slaughter a lot of buffalos and pigs. But it was just an ordinary story for me, until I attended the funeral ceremony itself, for real…

So it was just an ordinary morning at the hotel, I had no exact plan for that day, first I thought to visit some “cave grave”, “baby grave”, or “stone grave”, taste some local food or maybe just walk around the town, which is not too big but pleasant enough. But, the owner of the hotel offered me to share a “guided tour” with two other tourists from Holland. The guide and this tourist couple looked nice, and the tour highlight is to attend the funeral ceremony, which held at Tanah Bori area, that is a beautiful region surrounded by hills and rice fields. So, even the cost was pretty high, I thought, “why not”? Maybe this is my only chance to attend the Torajan funeral ceremony! Well, who knows? And I never regret my decision…

Imagine a field surrounded by a lot of big traditional bamboo hut. Hundred of people sat, gathered, chatted and ate at this bamboo hut. Most all of them is relatives of the dead, which the body had been mummified and placed in a coffin on separated place, at the hut, high from the ground. The hut was beautifully decorated, with the photo of the dead placed in front of the coffin. People wore black clothes, some wore traditional Torajan clothes, which is bright orange mixed with red coloured clothes, the men wore yellow or brown headband, the girls with golden crown on their head, some older ladies wore traditional hat called “caping” and wore traditional Torajan woven clothes with them…

…but the field was not empty. The field was full with pigs and buffalos. I couldn’t count them because they were so many. Some were laying on the ground alive,each tied to a bamboo…

…and some were dead. Some laid on the ground, left only their body parts.

 

Some left only their head…

tana toraja funeral ceremony

 

Well, I warned you before : Do not read while eating.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge by Daily Post.

#PeopleAroundUs : See Me, But Don’t Judge Me

Bangla Road Phuket Thailand

See me, but don’t judge me.

 

Russia, 2009…

di tengah ruangan kecil dalam apartemen bobrok di pinggiran kota Moskow, aku meringkuk. Kepalaku seperti dirajam ribuan jarum. Lenganku lebam. Kakiku berdarah. Aku meraba bahuku sambil meringis. Terbayang kembali sabetan keras ikat pinggang hitam pria itu. Berkali-kali, berkali-kali. Mencambuk lenganku, punggungku, wajahku, perutku. Setetes darah segar membasahi tepi bibirku. Amis. Aku harus lari. Kuusap perutku. Semoga kau baik-baik saja di sana Nak…

Bangkok, 2010…

senyummu terkembang memainkan jemariku. Pipimu memerah seiring dengan memanasnya cuaca siang ini. Kaus katun putih kusam bergambar anak beruang warna-warni menempel begitu lekat di badanmu mungilmu, yang saat ini basah oleh keringat. Tapi engkau tidak menangis. Ranjang bayi dari kayu ini berderit sedikit saat kau bergerak-gerak penuh semangat di dalamnya. Kutatap jendela. Pemandangan rumah-rumah kumuh berjajar di depan mata, asap kendaraan hitam kelabu memenuhi udara. Suara-suara lenguhan dan derit pelan ranjang terdengar samar-samar dari kamar sebelah. Aroma masam sup Tom Yam basi menyeruak. Aku menutup jendela. Tak rela anakku harus hidup seperti ini.

Phuket Town, 2012…

setengah berlari aku menuju rumah. Kudorong pagar besi yang dicat putih mengkilat. Kuberlari melintasi halaman, tak peduli beberapa bunga mati terinjak. Kupanggil-panggil namamu. Hening. Kucari dirimu di seluruh penjuru rumah. Di ruang tamu. Di dapur. Di garasi. Di kamar tidur. Tak ada. Pria itu menemukanmu. Setelah selama ini, akhirnya dia menemukanmu. Setelah selama ini. Merampasmu. Aku tergugu.

Bangla Road, 2012…

kuturunkan sedikit belahan dada gaunku. Sulit rasanya bernafas dalam gaun ketat ini. Kalau masih bisa dibilang gaun. Bagiku ini hanya sehelai kain mengkilap murahan yang norak dan kekurangan bahan. Ukurannya pun terlalu kecil untukku. Bahannya membuat gatal tubuhku. But show must go on. Musik sudah dimainkan. Pening kepalaku terkungkung di dalam kotak kaca ini. Lampu-lampunya menyilaukan mataku. Kulenggak-lenggokan pinggulku seadanya. Toh belum terlalu malam. Pengunjung belum terlalu ramai. Hanya tampak kerumunan kecil turis lokal di depan bar dengan tatapan kosongnya seperti biasa. Kuangkat kedua lenganku, kugerai rambut coklat keemasanku, kubusungkan dadaku. Kucoba menyelaraskan goyanganku dengan irama dentuman house music yang membosankan. Satu hari lagi yang harus kuselesaikan. Satu rayuan palsu lagi yang harus kulontarkan. Satu klien lagi yang harus ditemani. Berarti satu amplop penuh lembaran ratusan Baht lagi hari ini. Sialnya seluruh kepunyaanku sekarang masih saja belum cukup untuk menebus dirimu, hak milikku. Anakku.

 

Ikutan #PeopleAroundUs yuk? Proyek satu hari satu foto satu cerita dari @aMRazing ^^

PS : kisah ini murni fiksi.

#PeopleAroundUs : Laut adalah Hidupku

Liukang Loe Tanjung Bira Indonesia

Tanjung Bira, 14 September 2013

Angin pantai dan deru ombak adalah temanku. Setiap hari bermain ku dengan gulungan-gulungan ombak. Ada yang kecil, rasanya menggelitik, ada yang besar, siap menerkam maut. Ombak adalah temanku. Aku mengenalnya sejak aku masih terbuai di dalam kandungan ibuku. Aku mendengar suaranya yang sayup-sayup memecah karang di kejauhan. Aku mendengar suaranya yang berdebur keras menghantam kapal bapakku. Aku mendengar suaranya yang lembut, menggelitik kaki ibuku. Terbuai aku dalam kemerduan suaranya yang menyatu dengan desiran angin laut, nyaman aku di dalam ibuku.

Tumbuh besar aku di antara pecahan kasar karang dan kerang. Warna-warninya selalu membuatku terpesona. Merah, biru, ungu, putih mengkilat bagai  mutiara. Sering kupendam kakiku yang mungil dalam-dalam di pasir pantai yang empuk. Warnanya putih pucat, sepucat warna bibir ibuku kala itu. Oh ibu, mengapa begitu cepat kau meninggalkan aku…

Aku dilatih untuk menjadi pejuang. Kutaklukkan laut yang sedang marah, kupelajari segala lika-likunya. Kuhapal semua lokasi karang-karang maut yang bisa membuat kapalku karam. Kupahami bahasa angin yang rumit, kapan ia sedang malas, kapan ia mengamuk murka, kapan ia berbaik hati menuntunku menjelajah lautan. Laut adalah hidupku. Ia tidak menjanjikan emas berlian. Ia tidak membuatku bermandikan uang. Ia tidak menjamin hidupku bergelimang harta. Tapi laut adalah hidupku. Di sana aku menemukan kedamaian. Aku mengenalnya lebih dari aku mengenal orangtuaku. Aku mencintainya lebih dari aku mencintai istriku.

Aku menatap horison. Adakah kehidupan lain di ujung sana? Dunia gemerlap yang penuh dengan manusia tampan dan molek. Dunia yang penuh dengan manusia intelek. Yang berpikir dirinya yang paling hebat. Yang sibuk menuntut dirinya dihargai. Sibuk mengumpulkan pundi-pundi duniawi. Tak harus berpeluh keringat untuk menyambung hidup.

Ah, tapi aku lebih cinta laut…

Ikutan #PeopleAroundUs yuk? Proyek satu hari satu foto satu cerita dari @aMRazing ^^

PS : kisah ini murni fiksi.