You

I thought long and hard before these words are here. At first I had the original idea confused and spent some time trying various writing styles to make it special. Then again I realized that the idea itself was already exceptional, I want to describe all the beautiful things that I have discovered in you so far.  Thus I settled my mind to make it as lucid as possible, just like you are to me.

 

I remembered…

You were uneasy, but I guess you should be naturally.

You were distant, because it was not going to be instant.

You were unlikeliness and I could not care less.

You were breached, with every short messages reached.

You were partnered and in disappointment I learned.

 

However…

You are in mind when the day starts, and still there when the night departs.

You are a novelty that I comprehend aptly.

You are fashion that I hardly find in a dozen.

You are a scent to which I relent.

You are trivial, yet substantially original.

You are honesty aside from modesty.

You are intelligence that strongly influence.

You are opinion advising each hesitation.

You are a playlist who I do not know exist.

You are a friend who always attend.

You are a smile in times of disaster.

You are attention when I look for discussion.

You are all ears in times of fears.

You are endearment for the moment.

You are a chaos that I cannot loss.

You are my ardency for intimacy.

 

Hence, although I realize…

You are a prohibition, repeatedly being broken.

You are indecision that I cannot be certain.

You are love, but you are loved.

 

I am sure…

You are a feeling more than a fling.

Small Dream of a Big Bike

Early this year I bought myself a motorcycle, an MV Agusta Brutale 675. It is an Italian ‘naked’ bike, specifically designed to penetrate city streets with wild characteristic high performance engine. Up to now, I have been riding it at least twice a week for more than two months. Each time I am on it, every engine start or first gear change is thrilling seconds that never fails to give a grin on the corner of my face.

A grin is a simple expression of joy and gratitude from this so-called personal accomplishment. For me, more than its big purchase, this bike is actually a small dream that took me a very long time to realize. It started when I was only a boy with influences from my dad and his six brothers. Every time they got together, I always heard stories of how they raced the city streets, went a date with girls, and got into an adventure with their Honda, Suzuki, or Yamaha. Those stories sat deep in my mind and inspired me to have my own adventure with motorcycles. Currently, I am blessed with a stable job and talent to save money. Eventually the end of 2012 was the moment where I thought I had enough savings and began to look for bikes that suited my dream.

There is a price that needs to be paid from making a dream come true and mine involved a huge sum. Despite being one of the actors of motivation, dad disagreed in me purchasing a big bike. He said that amount of money was better used to buy a car, or even better, made it as a down payment for a house of my own instead. I sensed mother felt the same way, but she did not say much, perhaps because her two-cents was already pointed out by dad. But I said to myself that this bike was a long-time desire and the time is now. So I made arguments and marched on over their critics. Yet at this point here today, I admit that they were right!

I do smile on every engine start or gear change, but most definitely I also frown when passing through Jakarta’s traffic. I specifically chose ‘naked’ bike for its agility, however it is still a big bike that is very challenging to navigate through the small gaps between cars. Not to mention intense heat coming from the radiator. Imagine a car engine; sit on it and holster your two legs on its sides when running. Yes it is that hot! Hence it is common to soak my t-shirt with sweat when riding. Maintenance is another problem. What can I say, with great power (or in this case performance) comes great responsibility. The other day a friend took it for a test ride; he could not balance the bike when taking a U-turn and fell slowly to the left. As a result, the clutch was bent and the left end of the handlebar was also heavily scratched. I decided to change those two items and was charged six hundred thousand Rupiahs in total. So I thought of insuring the bike to prevent paying more huge bills like it again in the future, but the annual cover calculation was almost twelve times bigger and I was not ready to suffer another significant loss from my bank’s balance.

It is not the bike’s fault. I was the one financially not ready with the consequences of owning a big bike. At least now I know that my timing in buying a big bike is incorrect. Yet, I did not regret this mistake. I am actually quite proud. Not many can say that they have the guts to make their wildest dream come true, but I did. There will be time to sell this small dream and give way for bigger ones that I have not been able to fulfill, but for now, I guess I will take the bike out and let some adrenaline kicks-in. vroom!

MV Agusta Brutale 675 - Frontal

MV Agusta Brutale 675 – Frontal

MV Agusta Brutale 675 - Right Side

MV Agusta Brutale 675 – Right Side

MV Agusta Brutale 675 - Speedometer

MV Agusta Brutale 675 – Speedometer

MV Agusta Brutale 675 - Bottom Right

MV Agusta Brutale 675 – Bottom Right

MV Agusta Brutale 675 - Lighted

MV Agusta Brutale 675 – Lighted

Truly False

Today I realize that in the past few weeks I have been making visits to the past. Somewhat a similar story is reappearing with a different cast. Unfortunately, at that time it did not end very well for me. I misinterpreted and ignored things that had happened in front of my two eyes. Although I knew from the start that she was a long-stretch, I decided to ignore my hunch and made a go for her anyway. In the end, thousands of kilometers in the neighboring country, I found out that she had already chosen the other guy. She was never mine.

It was absolutely unpleasant! That is how memories are logged-in in my head, very bitter or sweet, as simple as that. And I guess we humans are supposed to learn from our past. Nevertheless, frankly speaking it is difficult to ignore you. I considered you special since the first day we became friends. You carried yourself in a way that I could not escape. Accordingly, I made efforts to get to know you better and along those times you pulled me in further with your brilliant arguments. The conclusion was crystal clear; your wit was stronger than skin-deep beauty. It was so easy for you to make every subject, even the most boring ones, very exciting to be discussed. I hate you for it up until now. It makes me think none other than to endeavor all sort of discussion with you and start missing you when you are not there to be found. In short, you are the headline of my thoughts and whatnot is insignificant. Sadly, this rational is our biggest parity. Whereas in your case what is insignificant is my company and whatnot is the headline of your thoughts. I am smart enough to just walk away and save my dignity. Ridiculously I keep on thinking about the possibilities of having you more than a friend and disregarding warnings from history.

Mere history is not the only thing that is standing between you and me, the present also holds potential problem. To add complexity to the matter, I am adding your current boyfriend into the equation, who makes the formula becoming inappropriate. I know how it feels to have someone you care being unfaithful, yet here I am as the perpetrator. For me it does not feel right! But as much as I despise it, in terms of right and wrong, honestly I feel like I have repeatedly been wronged by other players in this game since a long time ago. Hence the way we reach the finish line is not key, it is finishing itself that is. So in a way, perhaps this is self-justification, but I think this virtue needs to be fight for. I have to, because even the slightest brink of love is golden. And happen to be, that gold-ish shine radiates from you and the hypothesis of us.

Like any other theory, this hypothesis of us only comes up with two kinds of answer. Truly I want it to be true, but false is forever on the opposite. I will take my chances in cheating the past and bend my own rules. I hope that is exactly what you see every time you see me try. Thus upon it you will slowly open yourself to me and let me in. Because I promise, even if I am wrong, we can be truly false together.

See Me Try

Farida

What we had between us was hard to explain, although it is now history but I surely know that it is something I want to remember. Your irreplaceable care and understanding for me during our togetherness were beyond amazing. Even after I said that we were over, you still kept it up by saying that you were going to be alright, because time would heal. Heal the wound that I caused you, spoken through hints of tears and sad voice that followed my closure. Writing is my consolation and I hope yours is in reading, because you are an inspiration and this is my memoir about us.

Do you remember your first day at school? That is the kind of anxiety that I get when meeting lots of new people all at once. Like the one I had two years ago when I decided to join a social service organized by our friend. You, on the contrary seemed like the one who knew everyone and got along just fine. Hence, you were amongst the first whose hand I shook and be acquainted with. And it did not take long for me to learn that you were smart and carefree, because they were as obvious as the sun. You carried those two qualities until the end of the occasion and we parted ways. Come to think it again now, it was those attitudes that set you apart from the group and made me remember you. Including when we met again at our friend’s house for 2012/2013 new year eve party.

Drink! Drink! Drink! That was the last thing I remember. It is funny how an easy new year gathering involved bottles of hard liquor. Accordingly, I was wasted and woke up with a massive hung over the next morning. My friends waited for you to leave before giving me a weird look; then they told me that you moved me to the sofa when I almost spent the night sleeping drunk under the sink. I responded coldly and said it was nothing. But I took a mental note; it was the first time you brought me under your care.

One morning three months later, based on simple means but good intentions, I tweeted you birthday wishes, and expected nothing but for you to read them. I was thinking you were being nice to me and it was appropriate to send them wishes. Eventually, you replied with a message and we exchanged mobile numbers instead. Since then, my cellphone that was usually quiet often rang to your incoming message. We talked almost about everything, from cheesy jokes to private matters, and even about closest family. It all happened effortlessly, just like two best-friends who met again after a very long time. I think it was because we managed to let go the burden of hope. Thus, frequently my questions were improper, my answers were absurd, and my statements were tenuous. Hilariously, you responded with even more crazy stuffs, exceeded by far than mine. That was the first time where I found myself being plainly honest with someone.

We began to plan our first date. First, we needed to set the day and date, a cool hang out place, and a good movie. Next, I chose matching attires to impress, something casual but demanded a second look. Then, I got my playlist ready on my iPod nano, just in case I ran out of topic when driving from and to your home. Finally, I asked for your address so I could pick you up like a real fancy date. And it was all perfect with your company. When I was with you, my hand was yours to hold, my body was yours to squeeze, and my lips were yours to kiss. You made me feel exceptionally useful; this was the reason why I liked you. Another thing that I also liked was how your eyes lighted up when you talked about Star Trek; something that you really love. And I was delighted to see that you talked to me in the same manner.

As our fondness for each other’s company grew stronger, likewise your curiosity on the degree of our relationship. The next weekend after we had our first date, you texted me saying that you needed to talk. Thus, on the phone you popped the question whether we were exclusively together. With everything that had happened between us, I actually had a hunch that you were going to ask about that subject exactly. However, the one thing I forgot was to be prepared with the answer. Therefore, I talked in a slow pace, tried to buy some time, and figured out an answer. “Likewise,” after a brief pause, “I am not seeing anyone else and exclusive to you. So we are together.” Since then we were officially a couple.

No celebration followed my new status, even though being in a relationship was something that I wanted the most for years. I ended our phone call and sat alone on one of the chairs in my family dining room. There I was, could not stop thinking about what I had just told you. I admit that it was a spontaneous response and I was not supposed to say that we were exclusively together, because I had not finished figuring out how to cope with our differences. First, we came from a different root of people. And second, we had different ways in worshiping God. These two were considered fundamental according to my parents. While my parents possessed great importance to me, hence their thinking and action would affect mine. I wish I could withdraw my statement.

These doubts stayed and did not leave. It bothered me the most when we had a romantic 4-day and 3-night getaway to Bali with several of your best-friends. You were constantly with me and I was sure that you could see it in my face. Occasionally you found me busy with my own thinking while looking outside through the glass window of our car, or stood still with empty eyes when in front of us was a very exquisite beach. Hence you asked me what was troubling my mind and I only replied with a loud silence. I continuously kept those thinking to myself because I did not want to ruin our holiday, but in fact, what I did was exactly the opposite.

Perhaps I ‘accidentally’ got into this relationship by answering your question with premature thinking, nevertheless I was intentionally grateful. I enjoyed being with you. A place where I found comfort, who insisted to listen when I was incapable of saying anything, whom shoulder sustained me when I was weary, and someone to care who also deeply cared about me. In short, I was loved! On the other hand, I also accepted my parents for who they were and I respected their request for it was nothing to bargain. I realized that I was torn apart between us and my family. Those mixed feelings created chaos in my mind and my rash solution for some peace was to end our relationship. I planned to tell you a week after we came back from Bali, because I thought a week would give me enough time to come up with a line that sounded sane enough for you to listen and accept.

In breaking the news, I did not want to offend you. It was utterly important for me to say my reasons correctly, because bad break up was evermore the last thing I need. In that order, nobody knew you like your best friend; he was the one introduced me to you two years ago. So I called and arranged a consultation to hear what he had to say about my intention. We met in a fast food restaurant close-by from his office. I finished my dinner then opened the discussion by telling him what I was experiencing, and closed it with several points that I organized to say when I met you on the next weekend.

“So that is my reasons, I need a solution!” I ended my explanation.

“Oh you are wrong, you will not hear a solution coming from me.” he responded calmly.

I frowned and asked for an explanation, “How do you mean?”

“You are the only one who knows what is best for you two.” he answered. “And I understand your reasons. But tell me this, if your parents were not in between of you two, how do you feel about her?”

By the look of his face, I knew he got me thinking. Then he continued, “Have you even told her about what you are experiencing?” He threw me another question and sealed my mouth to silence.

When that meeting was finally over, I went home with more questions than before. But I thanked him for making two excellent arguments to consider; one, I needed to share you the inner conflict than I was dealing with, since keeping you in the dark any longer would not do any good; and two, only I knew exactly what my true feelings for you were and it was essential for me to find what it was.

That weekend I did meet you, but it was not to say that we were over. I met you to explain everything that I felt about us and also about the battle that continuously went on inside me. Surprisingly, you understood my situation very well, because you were also experiencing the same conflict with your parents. Apparently, they shared the same difference with mine, whereas it was important for them that you were with someone who was in the same circle of people and belief.  The difference between you and me was the way we coped with our situation. You managed to put it all aside and lived the moment, while I was anchored and slowly drowned from thinking it all the time. I did not expect that you were also experiencing similar situation. Nevertheless, it was such a huge relief to know that I was not the only one fighting. It also felt like a significant amount of burden was lifted from my shoulder after I shared you my problems. A slight peace of mind gave room for clearer thoughts to surface. Your way of thinking inspired me not to give up on us yet, because I had not given my best shot into our relationship and I did not want to find myself regretting it in the future. Once again I found myself falling under your care and I reconsidered my decision to break up with you.

The following week I promised to try harder and my early attempt was to adopt your way of thinking. I focused on the present and let life took its course. By doing so, I was hoping that I could treat you better, be truly there when I was with you, fancied you more than my thoughts, and loved you only for who you were. But changing mindset is always hard; I struggled in applying this new belief at first, yet with lots of practice I finally made it.  However, the result was not as expected, none of my objectives were achieved. Moreover, the longer we were together, the further I found myself drifted away from you. I let it went on up until a point where we had no communication for two days. Strangely, at that time I did not inquire or feel anything about you. That situation really urged me to carefully look at the kind of emotion that I had built with you thus far.

So I asked myself how I truly felt about you. I remembered that it was one of the questions I failed to answer during my session with your best-friend the other day. In finding the answer, he advised me to tell you about it and do it on my own without your assistance or interference. Since he was proven right on his first argument, I thought it was a good idea to follow his recommendation once more. Happened to be, after that two days of silence, you texted me to ask for a phone call on the third. Naturally, you called to say that you were angry because I did not maintain communication with you, yet I was ready to take the blame. Besides, I had the urgency to tell you about my intention. In contrast to my prediction, you called to share me about the delicate situation you were dealing with your mom. For that reason, it was not an ideal period to cut off communication between us, but I considered postponement was not an option. I had to do it for us! After that call, I spent the next three days revisited all of our milestones. Each of them was initiated by you, whilst I willingly followed your lead. When we became exclusive, it was too soon. I forced myself to feel something that I did not feel, but it did not pull through. So I freaked out! In amidst panic, I put my parents as a shield and used their concerns as a way out, because I was too cowardly to admit the truth. I had no expectation for us to end up together and my love for you stopped growing when we were close friends.

One and a half months, I lied to you long enough. The next morning, I unenthusiastically reached my phone to send a message inquiring your schedule. Fifteen minutes went by, also an hour. Since then, I nervously checked my phone every five minutes to see your reply. When it did beeped, an e-mail came through, but it was about work. False alarm! In the end, you replied my message around noon saying that you already planned to see Pacific Rim with several friends later on that afternoon. I pleaded to see you after the movie, because I had something to say. You responded with only two letters confirming us to meet that night. For a while I reexamined that last okay from you, and eventually the whole conversation that we had that morning. Call me overanalyzing, but every line from you showed traces of anger. My head was stirred. I convinced myself not to back out and used the time I had left to organize both words and settings.

When we were alone at last, it was already quite late. Time to take you home and I was driving. Raindrops heavily showered the windshield of my car. The streets were all wet and they beautifully reflected lights from the skyscrapers along Sudirman. Outside was too cold, even for someone wearing a thick jacket covering the length of its upper body. I was not looking for romantic and it was too much. So I gripped the steering wheel tighter and held my elbow firmer. The lines that I had prepared seemed stuck on my throat. I broke the ice and commented about the weather. Then I turned on the radio to neutralize some of the discouraging atmosphere. Turned out to be, the playlist were all the best contemporary heart-broken love songs. I was in so much stress. Especially when I reminisced a specific moment earlier that night when you said that I made you felt worthless because I was not giving you a clear explanation when I disappeared along the previous three days. But the worst was yet to come; you then told me that you loved me. That felt like driving into a bus with full speed. Eventually, we arrived at your house, there was no time left. You gave me our customary goodbye kiss and turned to reach the door handle. I pulled your arm and told you that I needed to talk. Cautiously started with the prologue, elaborated my reasons, and then concluded by asking your forgiveness for I could not return the same love condition that you were giving me. You shrugged your shoulders in tears, but did not seem surprised. I guessed the symptoms were too apparent. From the beginning of our relationship, falling for me was never in your agenda, but it happened after all. I wrapped my arms around your precious body for one last time, tighter and tighter. There was nothing I could do more to comfort you. We separated along with the closing gate of your house and reached the end.

For me, the end is the beginning; a point where I revisit everything that we had shared up until the day we broke up. Almost everything is captured here to remember. However, of course there are several things that I missed, because they are meant to be shared only between you and me, or simply because I am a forgetful being. Above all, I want you to know that not a second in my life I regret being with you. I will not be missing our customary together if the case is the opposite. Moreover, the experience and emotional commotion that I went through when we were together was a valuable opportunity to grow up mentally and physically. In which, you helped a lot by giving so much love, care, and understanding that made me lasted through the end. Sometime around, I have faith that you will be up and running like you used to, because you are a strong and independent woman. I wish you all the best; for that is what you are worth, so do not settle for less. And likewise you told me on the last night I saw you, you will have a place in my heart.

Analogy

It is like having a tattoo!

That first second when the needle touched your skin; you are stunned, surprised, and wondered how you could let yourself to feel such torture. But then again it was you who sorted the candidates, found the ‘accomplice’, and made all the arrangements. So there was no escaping and all you could do was just sat tight while uncertainty underwent your mind. The next minute, you began to doubt yourself whether you were making the right decision; that same thought ran through your mind like a never ending film-reel. You tried everything to avert yourself from the agony; alas, the needle was not acquainted with your emotions. It kept stroking back and forth cutting you like a hot knife through butter. Until after a period of time that felt like forever, you knew that it was over. You were tired and suffered from the process; nevertheless, you were relieved and anxious to get out. You took your time, slowly healed the bruises according to your own recovery pace; a very personal phase which length was only yourself to define. Hence, while defining your length, you tried to look okay in front of many, yet in solitude you repeatedly saw your scars and be reminded of how painful it was. When eventually all the aching and bruising subsided, you could see that what was once damaged was transforming into something amazing; something that was according to plan. And sometimes you even had the wisdom to say that it was all worthy; from there forward everything went downhill.

You were back to your routines, but this time you were better. At some point you realized you were not the same man as you were once before. Your judgment and perspective about it had changed; vis-à-vis people towards you. Either astonishment or despisement, you seemed unbothered because you knew that they were not you and you were the one attached to it for life. Everything is once more alright and for an undefined amount of time you were content. Down those times you were enjoying yourself, progressing at work or anything that you do, and subconsciously reaching the last stages of recovery. And it came to full circle when you are ready to have another. As agonizing as it is, we keep coming back for more, don’t we?!

I think most of us easily relate with the description above, either analogy or literally. I happened to have experienced both meanings and I consider it as a privilege. Given the two circumstances gave me a lot of opportunity to grow mentally and physically. Moreover, it is an inevitable part of my life that made me here today. However, I am not implying any other similarity than the experience; nor getting a tattoo or your heart broken to understand my point. Everyone should find an analogy to help understand what life is all about and eventually grow to your understanding, to be better or worse, anyhow life is treating you. Just give it a real thinking, it may be the answer you are looking for.

Wu Song vs. Tiger

Wu Song vs. Tiger

South Africa Trip | 15th-22nd November 2012

In contrast to what some people believe that 2012 will be the end of the world, 2012 is the best year in my life so far, because so many things happened this year and reasons to be grateful keep on increasing daily. This trip to South Africa is a very good example. The company where I worked was awarded with two seats in this incentive program from Global TV. You see, I did not know anything about it and from out of the blue my marketing director chose me and a colleague to participate in this trip. That day when I received the e-mail was when I had the best feeling in the world, a mixture of pure disbelieve and incredible happiness. Most people probably will put South Africa at the end of their list of holiday places. Yeah, that includes me too. Not that I hate the country, but it is more of because getting there is very expensive, not to mention the accommodations; in addition, due to my limited knowledge about the country, I did not find it interesting to visit. But hey, it was all free!

So there I was on the night of November 15th strolled along the departure terminal of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport looking for Saphire d’Consulate Louge where I met other participants of the trip and from which together we flew to Cape Town International Airport via Dubai International Airport. It was my first experience in flying more than 3 hours in one way. The flight to Dubai took 9 hours, transited for 3 hours, and continued with 8 hours flight to Cape Town. Fortunately, Emirates in-flight entertainment and service was all top notch, they provided 3 times meal in one flight and had blockbuster movies such as Dark Night Rises and Total Recall. Since South Africa is 5 hours later than Jakarta, I tried to directly adjust my body clock with the destination country to avoid dragging jet lag. My strategy seemed to work, because when we arrived at 5.30 PM South Africa’s time, I felt nothing but enthusiasm and relieved.

DAY I

Cape Town International Airport had a major development when South Africa was chosen to exhibit the FIFA World Cup of 2010. Ryan, our tour guide from Smailing Tour explained that before facilities were poor and confusing. But I witnessed a really modern and well-organized airport, so I was sure that what he said was true. As we walked out of the airport, Michael, the local guide for Cape Town greeted us along with some staffs to handle our luggage. That was the first point where I realized that we were all really in for a treat. We hopped-in to our tour bus and we were on our way. Our itinerary for that first day in Cape Town was only to have dinner at the Hilderbrand Restaurant and then checked-in at the Commodore Hotel to close the day. Hilderbrand Restaurant was positioned perfectly at one side of the famous Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V & A Waterfront). Dinner was already arranged when we got there. The appetizer was a delightful tomato soup, the main menu was either sirloin steak or grilled chicken steak, and the dessert was ice cream. As we waited for the main menu, I anxiously went around the restaurant and took pictures of the surroundings. I just could not ignore invitations from beautiful building lightings and passing boats on the docks nearby. After I thought I had enough, I went back to the restaurant and surprised with the breaking news. One of the participants lost his bag which was hanged on his seat just minutes during his toilet break. The thing was, he ignored the tour leader’s warning and nobody saw anything. His small bag contains a digital camera and passport, such a major bummer! There on forward, lesson learned, I always carried my bags around even if it was only going to the toilet. When everybody finished having dinner it was already 9.00 PM, so we left the restaurant and walked to the hotel. Apparently, The Commodore Hotel was just 5 minutes away from V&A Waterfront. Although the hotel seemed to have a ‘classic’ look, the room was spacious, had a window that can be opened, and also wi-fi connection. I unpacked a little, brushed my teeth and went to bed instantly. The first day of the trip passed so quickly!

Hilderbrand Restaurant

Hilderbrand Restaurant

V&A Waterfront

V&A Waterfront

DAY II

The next morning we reassembled at 7.00 AM for breakfast at the hotel restaurant. As a four stared hotel, The Commodore provided a wide range of breakfast menu, so whether you choose American breakfast, Continental breakfast, or any other style, I am sure you can. As I walked to find a table outside, I found that day as a bright Saturday morning with a strong cold breeze. It was a different atmosphere and I really enjoyed it. It was also the same reason why our agenda was changed by putting Table Mountain as the first attraction of that day. During the 30 minutes bus ride, our guide told us that we would be using a cable cart to reach the top of the mountain, which was 1.085 meters above the sea level. He further explained that it was why the weather played an important role in the success of our visit to Table Mountain, because a mixture of strong wind or hard rain and elevation created an unsafe situation in riding a cable cart; accordingly, the management held a full right to shut down the facility as a preventive measure in avoiding a crash. Tickets were immediately distributed once we arrived at our destination, we then queued for 10 minutes before it was finally our turn and 5 minutes later we were already standing at the top of Table Mountain. I was amazed with the view and it was really hard to explain by words. I will let the pictures do all the talking. 

View at the feet of Table Mountain

View at the feet of Table Mountain

View at the top of Table Mountain

View at the top of Table Mountain

One hour seemed very fast, I could not have enough pictures in my camera and iPhone for that kind of view. I rushed back to the cable cart terminal and joined the others to catch our ride down. The next stop for that day was the house of parliament. The city of Cape Town, despite not being the capital of South Africa, is home to South Africa’s Parliament – Cape Town is the legislative capital, whilst the seat of government is in Pretoria, the administrative capital. We spent no more than 20 minutes and I only had a few good shots of the building, but I thought it was enough. We continued our trip, passed the town, and went on to Constantia Valley to visit the Groot Constantia Estate. Inside we were scheduled to taste some of the best wines produced by the estate. The vineyard is very popular among wine enthusiast because they made a range of quality wines; moreover, it is also said that great characters such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Philippe of France, and members of the British Royal House were amongst loyal drinker of their creation. I read their brochure which explained that Constantia Valley was bestowed with the influence of the sun, wind, oceans, and fertile soil; those were all the factors needed to harvest a unique and sweet tasting resource for Groot Constantia batches. That day 5 types of those batches were on our table and ready to be tasted. To be honest, after the fifth glass I could not tell the difference, perhaps because I was not a regular or knowledgeable drinker of wine. Nevertheless, I guessed the effect was the same for everyone, temperature seemed higher than when we first entered the place, if you know what I mean.

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

The group left Groot Constantia around noon, it was time for lunch and that was the purpose of our next destination. For me, drowsiness is the casual side effect of alcohol, thus, I spent 45 minutes of bus ride by sleeping. When I woke up, we already arrived at the Western Cape to have lunch at the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch. Situated in the Cape Dutch-styled farmhouse, the restaurant specializes in ostrich dished-offering. In addition, the restaurant also provides guided tours around the farm. In my opinion, this restaurant was one of the best places that we had for a meal, not just because they served juicy and tender ostrich filet menu, but also because the setting of the restaurant was just stunning. I was much impressed with how they used Bougainville as a cover for the outside area of the restaurant; it worked for both function and esthetic. On top of that, another thing that I liked was they provided coffee and tea at the end of the meal, fabulous! My last sip of coffee marked the beginning of our farm tour. We were then introduced with Hermann, our guide for that day. Hermann was originally born and bred in South Africa, but apparently he was a descendant of pure Indonesian; that explained why his name sounded familiar to our ears. Anyways, the tour followed a 40-minute informative trail, including the museum, the ostrich leather factory, ostrich feeding, and the best part was sitting on a live ostrich. So at the end of the tour, each of us took turns and photographed while sitting on the back of the largest bird on earth.  

Cape Town Ostrich Ranch Restaurant

Cape Town Ostrich Ranch Restaurant

Male ostrich have dark feathers

Male ostrich have dark feathers

As soon as everyone was ready, we were requested to head back to the bus for the last venue of that second day in Cape Town. In matter of minutes we were already on our way to Canal Walk, the third largest shopping center in Africa which hosted over 400 stores, numerous restaurants, and 20 cinemas. The announcement instantly jolted the ladies member of the tour who seemed excited in spending some amount of their Rand money. The tour leader caught the ladies expression well, he gave us 4 hours of free time to explore 141.000-square-metre of retail area which I concluded having more-less similar width with Kelapa Gading Mall 1 to 5, a mall in Jakarta where I live. Me and my colleague from the company spent the time went in and out several stores. After a while I could say that prices were pretty much the same with Jakarta, however, we found several interesting brands or stores that were unavailable back home. A shopping bag and hours later it was time to regroup. Earlier before we split for the free time, we were briefed that dinner would be held at Taiwan, a restaurant serving Chinese food located at La Piazza restaurant row. O yeah, that reminds me, Canal Walk and Kelapa Gading Mall also share another similarity besides its width; both have a restaurant row section that is called La Piazza. Unfortunately, the food was not as sharp as Chinese food restaurant that I normally found in Kelapa Gading. Dinner at Taiwan that night concluded our second day in Cape Town. 

La Piazza at Canal Walk Mall

La Piazza at Canal Walk Mall

DAY III

It was another 7.00 AM morning-call for us, because that day the tour was going to cover even a lot more miles up to Cape of Good Hope, which was the most south-western point of the African Continent. It was one of the many reasons why I felt very excited and another was because the itinerary also included seeing live seals and Jackass penguins at their natural habitat. I had never seen a seal or penguin with my own two eyes, moreover at their home, so I was sure it was going to be a great tour day. In addition, we also had the Twelve Apostles, lobster lunch at Fish Hoek, and the old lighthouse at the tip of Cape Point. I guess everybody realized that proper timing was crucial when having a day that packed, because after we were being told that the bus was ready, each of us quickly boarded the tour bus without being told. I found an empty window seat and made myself comfortable. As the bus drove away from the hotel, I looked out the window and noticed that a lot of people were jogging, riding bikes, running their dog, or just sitting along the shoreline fences. It was not something like I saw the day before, but then I remembered that it was a Sunday morning and it all made sense. I imagined about living in Cape Town, kept a dog, and walked it every Sunday just like those people I saw. However, it was just short illusion because an amazing view unfolded before my eyes. A breathtaking view of mountain lines on the background combined with white sandy beach on the foreground; we were minutes away from our first stop, the Twelve Apostles. It was hard to digest all that beauty and took photos at the same time. Unfortunately, we were only given 20 minutes because we had to keep things on schedule. 

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles

With a view like that, 20 minutes felt like a very short while and we were back on the road. Hout Bay, an active fishing harbor that was populated since the late Stone Age era, was our destination. From which we were going to join a boat cruise to see Cape Fur Seals at Seal Islands. As it was a major tourist attraction, when we got there lots of tourist already filled the spot queuing for tickets. Yet, we did not have to queue for anything, because tickets were directly distributed to us just before we entered the boat. Onboard I found information on one of the walls that said the boat was licensed to carry 120 passengers. No wonder it was quite big; it featured an ample outside, an undercover area, individual seating, and onboard bar facilities. But space was not part of my worry, the strong tide was. A few days before I went into this trip, I Googled Seal Islands and found that huge population of seals living here attracted great white sharks to inhabit the sea below. I really could not imagine accidentally thrown overboard by the waves hitting the boat. Thus, no matter what I did, I always held on something tightly. Even when we passed the famous Sentinel Mountain, I insisted on capturing it by hooking one arm to a steel railing while the other holding the camera. I only had a few good shot because the boat was rocking so hard from side to side, but I immediately forgot about it as we arrived at the main attraction. Seal Island is a small land mass that rises no more than about six meters above the high tide mark and it is named so because of the great number of Cape Fur Seals that occupy it. I was lucky that my camera covered quite a distance between where the boat stopped and the island, since we could not get closer due to shallow sea level. To be honest, it was hard to see the seals clearly from where I was standing, but from my photos I saw that there were hundreds or thousands of them on the island. I also spotted several seals with the size twice from the others; however, I was not sure whether they were the alpha male or anything else. And for 20 minutes long the boat circled the island making sure that everyone onboard got their share of view and captured every angle, afterwards the boat slowly left the island heading back to Hout Bay. It is true, seeing something with your own two eyes is much different than seeing it from other people’s view.

Cape Fur Seals at Seal Island

Cape Fur Seals at Seal Island

A cruise boat circling the Seal Island

A cruise boat circling the Seal Island

It was a good business day for the boat owners, because another group seemed anxious to board the boat as we move closer to the dock. We then took time to check out the stalls along the dock which mainly sold authentic South African souvenirs, such as wood carving in the shape of African animals, leather bracelets, beads, key-chains, fridge magnets, and ostrich eggshells. Although it did not come cheap, that last item was the most hunted by our group, whether it was carved, hand-painted, or just glazed. One ostrich egg sold around 150-160 South African Rand depending on your negotiation skills and that sum of money equaled 155.000 Rupiahs in Indonesian currency. Somehow I did not fancy it, maybe it was because I could not think anywhere to place it, and so I kept my money for something else like authentic local food. Speaking of which, my stomach growled for food as the day approached noon. Yet, the others got carried away in shopping spree madness and we already passed lunch time when we got back to the bus. I was relieved to hear that the next stop was the Bayside Seafood Restaurant located exactly in one side of Fish Hoek beachfront. What was also exciting, our tour guide told us that getting there involved passing the scenic route of Chapman’s Peak Drive, a spectacular road which hugged the near-vertical face of the mountain from Hout Bay to Noordhoek, while the western flank of the mountain fell sharply for hundreds of meters into the Atlantic Ocean. The road was once closed in the 1990s after a rock fall causing death and subsequent lawsuit, but then reopened as a toll road in 2005. 

Decorated ostrich eggs

Decorated ostrich eggs

Chapman's Peak Drive

Chapman’s Peak Drive

Half an hour later we arrived at Bayside to have our lobster lunch. That day we were blessed with a beautiful bright sky, so the beach was crowded with people swimming or chilling under the sun. I recognized several good objects to capture around the restaurant; hence, I left the group and walked out for a few minutes. When I got back, the appetizer was served, it was oysters. To me they looked and smelled funny, but I was curious to try one. And I was right, evidently one was enough! Up until now, I still do not understand how something like it can be so expensive. The main menu was definitely better although a bit fishy. 800 grams of grilled lobster served with rice and stir-fried vegetables perfectly sufficed my hunger. While a cup of coffee guaranteed to keep our eyes open during the following afternoon and closed our lunch session.

Beachfront of Bayside Seafood Restaurant

Beachfront of Bayside Seafood Restaurant

800 Grams of grilled lobster

800 Grams of grilled lobster

We were back on the road heading for Boulders, a beach positioned between Fish Hoek and Cape Point, to see a colony of estimated 3.000 Jackass penguins which were set up in 1983. Before getting there, we passed the city of Simon’s Town, the home of the South African Navy. Accordingly, our tour guide told us that for more than 2 centuries Simon’s Town had been an important naval base and harbor, previously for the Royal Navy and currently for the South African Navy. Furthermore, he also told us that the town is named after Simon van der Stel, an early governor of the Cape Colony. While listening to his explanation, I observed the sea was good for swimming and the big-round boulders on the sandy beach provide some shade and shelter. Too bad we did not have the privilege to enjoy it. Nevertheless, the penguins cheered me up. Although we only saw them from the provided boardwalk along the coastline, it was a rare view still. Not every day you got the chance to see live penguins that acted silly, swam the sea, teased each other, stood together, and instinctively made a formation; truly a scene to capture. After I thought I had enough pictures, I rushed back to the bus looking for air conditioner. The sun stopped me from staying longer because it was such a brilliant day, even too brilliant. I really felt tortured being outside at that time of the day.

Entrance to Boulders Beach

Entrance to Boulders Beach

Jackass penguins

Jackass penguins

As I got back to the bus, a few people were already there chilling; I guessed that afternoon we all felt the same heat wave. A few minutes later, everybody completely regrouped in the bus to see the second last attraction for that day, which was the old lighthouse at the tip of Cape Point summit within the Table Mountain National Park. As you can imagine, the summit is very high and takes a lot of time to walk by; fortunately, the venue is equipped with The Flying Dutchman. It is the official name given to the inclined funicular railway system that provides a quick, comfortable, and convenient means of reaching just below the summit of Cape Point. It only took three minutes to get to the summit and everyone on the group was immediately indulged with yet another stunning view. That little hint of view made me totally agreed to categorize Cape Point as one of the most spectacular sightseeing spots in South Africa. Appropriately, a lot of time needed to explore a spectacle like that, but time was not a privilege. So I made a little run here and there to take enough pictures from every angle, but especially the old lighthouse. I managed to cover the whole complex within 30 minutes duration, just in time to regroup at the funicular and went down together with the group. It had been a long day and we still had one more stop. Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, situated at the junction of two earth’s most contrasting water masses – the cold Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast. That was why when I looked closely at the sea water, it had two different colors. However, at that time I was not aware about these facts and thought it was just a casual natural occasion. As a matter of the fact, we all did not aware of it at all and busy taking turns photographing each other in front of a sign that said we were at the most south-western point of the African continent. Too bad!

View from the summit of Cape Point

View from the summit of Cape Point

The old lighthouse

The old lighthouse

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

It was around 5.00 PM when we left Cape of Good Hope and the night started to creep in. I fell asleep not long after I found my seat on the bus and so did everyone else. That day ended with having dinner together at Mr. Chan restaurant at downtown Cape Town. It was the second Chinese food meal that we had during the whole trip and the flavor chart was increasing, since it was more delicious than what we had at Taiwan restaurant the other day. A superb way to close that marvelous third day in Cape Town!

 

DAY IV

The previous night I was too tired and lazy to take a bath. Hence, I only washed my face and brushed my teeth before bed. Alas, that meant I had to wake up earlier than early on that fourth day. The reception called my room exactly at 4.00 AM. I rushed to take a bath, packed my bags, and went down to the hotel lobby to regroup with the other tour participants. It was the day when we took the 6.30 AM flight to Johannesburg with the local Mango Airlines. On the way to Cape Town International Airport, Michael, our local guide said his goodbye. He said we had seen the best and then we could see the rest, he also wished us a great time within our remaining holiday. I thought it was well said and very appropriate. Leaving early from the hotel was a good decision, because 30 more people checking-in at the same time took quite a while, not to mention queuing to pass the metal detector. By the time we reached the boarding room, I took some time to eat my breakfast which was prepared by the hotel in boxes and given to each of us when we left. And when the announcement to board the plane roamed the room, I was just having my last bite. It was a good morning indeed when I found out that I was given a window seat, because I could see how sunshine slowly surged the mountain and sea surface below.

Morning flight with Mango Airline

Morning flight with Mango Airline

 We arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport of Johannesburg around 9.00 AM. Brian, our local guide throughout our stay in Cape Town, greeted us outside the arrival terminal. Apparently, in Johannesburg we used the same type of tour bus with Cape Town. However, something very unfortunate happened. A small rock splintered from a grass cutting machine and hit one of the bus emergency glasses. The glass shattered in small pieces, but thank God nobody was hurt in that incident. Brian quickly coordinated with his office to arrange a replacement bus which going to pick us up at the nearest gas station. We waited an hour until the replacement bus was ready and quickly continued our trip to Pretoria, the executive (administrative) capital of South Africa. Therefore, that day’s main attraction was to see the Union Buildings, an official seat of the South African government and offices of the president of South Africa. The Buildings are one of the centers of political life and poses as an emblem of democracy in South Africa. And although not in the center of Pretoria, the Union Buildings occupies the highest point of the city and constitutes a South African national heritage site. It was also the location of presidential inaugurations. That was why I thought it would be interesting if we could get a tour inside the building, yet it was impossible. Nonetheless, photos from outside the building already sufficient for me to say that I had visited the symbol of democracy in South Africa.

The Union Buildings

The Union Buildings

Union Buildings was one of the two places we visited in Pretoria, while the other is lunch. Thus, we took another 15 minutes bus ride from Union Buildings and arrived at Lai Jing Chinese restaurant. Lai Jing would be the third and last Chinese food meal that we had along the trip and certainly tasted the best amongst other Chinese restaurants that we encountered. Every meal provided in this trip was always more than we needed. Even though we tried to finish them all, most of the time there was always leftovers. For me it was such a shame wasting food like that, but I ate more than could and that was that. As our appetite was satisfied, it was time to get back on the road. Our final destination of that day was the Sun City resort complex, 2 hours drive from Johannesburg. I did not have enough sleep the night before, combined that situation with a full tummy made me felt drowsy; eventually I fell asleep not long after I sat down. Unluckily, in the middle of my glorious nap I felt hot and uncomfortable. I was forced to open my eyes and checked out what was going on. At that time we were driving in the middle of a desolated and hot desert; thus, I raised my hand to test the wind coming from the AC outlet and I thought was not as cold as before. Then I concluded that the air conditioner inside the bus could not balance the extreme temperature outside. In addition, we were still an hour away from the resort. So there we were battling with heat for an hour long until we reached our destination.

On the way to Sun City

On the way to Sun City

Established in the end of 1979, Sun City is a luxury casino and resort that is located in the North West Province of South Africa. It gained popularity when it was privileged by the South African government to conduct gambling and topless revue shows that were banned in all over South Africa. These factors, as well as its closeness to large metropolitan areas of Pretoria and Johannesburg, ensured Sun City soon became (and stayed) a popular holiday and weekend destination. At the size of 64.8 km², the complex has magnificent features, such as 4 hotels, 1 casino, 2 international-standard 18-hole golf courses, water sport activities, wave pool, and access to Pilanesberg Game Reserve. For me the most interesting attraction was the game reserve, because I was not much of a gambler, golfer, or swimmer. Hence, when our tour leader offered an optional tour into the game reserve, I was among the other 25 tour participants who booked a seat. However, we were not doing it that time, because it was better to enter the reserve early in the morning when the animals were out looking for food. Thus, it gave us higher chances to see them. In addition, we first had to check-in at the Cascades Hotel, our accommodation for the length of our stay at Sun City.

The Cascades Hotel

The Cascades Hotel

Morning view from my room

Morning view from my room

The outside look of Cascades Hotel reminded me of Marbella Hotel in Anyer, Banten, Indonesia. I even got the same hints of oldness when I entered the lobby, but I chose not to care. I felt tired and really wanted to lie down for a while. So I quickly took the card key being distributed, went up to the sixth floor, and entered my room. Apparently, in contrast with the old external look, the room was nice. It was spacious, clean, comfortable, and had big sliding window at the width of the room to enjoy the mountain view. For the first time in that trip I could spend some time to relax and enjoy a little TV while drinking my afternoon coffee. As time flew with every minute I spent watching TV, suddenly it was already 7.00 PM, time to regroup with the others at the hotel lobby to have dinner. That night we were in for another treat, since it was a buffet at the Calabash restaurant inside the casino compound. That restaurant was also specifically selected because of its position. After dinner we were scheduled to see a cabaret show at a theatre also in the same building. And the last agenda for that night was free time session to try our luck with slot machines, black jack, American roulette, poker, or any other game available in the casino. None of them interest me at all, yet it was still thrilling to see the others playing while enjoying a glass of cold beer. Some win and some lose, but then again it was the whole essence of the game, right?! The game still went on until I emptied my glass. As always beer made me sleepy and that last gulp was the end of me. I decided to get back to the Cascades hotel and slept early for the game reserve early on the next morning.

Sun City Entertainment Center

Sun City Entertainment Center

Inside the casino

Inside the casino

DAY V

Unlike usual, it was my alarm that woke me up that morning. It was 5.30 AM and the ones who already booked a seat to see the game reserve had to gather at the lobby at 06.00 AM. With a time that short I only brushed my teeth, washed my face, changed clothes, and then rushed down the elevator. When I got there, a few people were already there including our tour leader and a park ranger. The ranger was picking us up using a large custom designed diesel car for us to tour the reserve. When it was time to leave, our tour leader did a head-count and made sure that all participant was there. We slowly drove away from the hotel until arrived at the gate of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The ranger then turned off the engine and conveyed several warnings, including to always sit along touring the reserve and not to feed the animals. As we passed the gate, a wide savanna disclosed in front of our eyes. Its green was golden exposed by the sunrise and the sky was clear bright blue. Its beauty spans in the area of 572 km² and recently considered as the most popular public game reserve in South Africa. This comes after many years of trailing the Kruger National Park. Its proximity to Johannesburg coupled with the fact that it is malaria free has led to its new found popularity. Such high praise needed proof and I could see that everyone was anxious to be impressed. We entered deeper into the reserve while the ranger communicated with his buddies using a hand-held two-way radio. Our ranger suddenly stepped on the gas and shouted to us that his buddy spotted a group of lioness. He also told us that we were very lucky if we able to see the lion, because even for him who drove through the reserve daily it was a rare sighting. We arrived at the spot and two other cars full of passenger already there ahead of us. Everybody, including me, stood up and ignored our ranger warning. Our eyes anxiously swept the savanna inch by inch to find one of the big five, a group of animal considered the icon of the African continent. And we found them; three lionesses were walking between the bushes. They were not like any lions I had seen in the zoo before; they seemed fierce yet so serene; they had the posture for power yet walked gracefully; and that they were free, free to leave us in awe. When they were finally gone, we left the scene to roam other areas of the game reserve and hoped to find more. We had been driving for 15 minutes when the ranger made another sudden move and U-turned. One of his teammates called-in sighting of a lion just distance away from the lioness sightings. Seemingly, it was out from its den for breakfast. I noticed a disturbing smell when we first stopped there, but it did not seem to bother the lion from enjoying its breakfast, carcass of a zebra. It was the first time I saw a lion eating its prey with my own two eyes. Eventually, along the two hours circling the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, we met four animals out of the big five; they were lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros. In addition, we also encountered giraffes and wildebeest. However, it was unfortunate that we could not complete the list with leopard, but then again they hunted at night, so the possibility was really slim.

Savanna inside the Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Savanna inside the Pilanesberg Game Reserve

A lion with its prey

A lion with its prey

A rhino with its baby

A rhino with its baby

At the end of our tour, the ranger dropped us off near the hotel and we walked the rest of the way. Afterwards, we all had breakfast and returned to our rooms. During the day we were given an option of exploring the complex or replacing our sleep that was taken by touring the reserve. I chose to explore because I did not feel like sleeping and everyone seemed to feel the same. We took it easy and only visited a few places, such as the wave pool and Sun City Entertainment Center. To be honest, those places were nothing special; nevertheless, it was still a good way to spend the day since I had several good shots from the exploration. In addition, that exploration was also the last agenda for that day and that point forward we were free to do anything what we want to do. Considering on the next evening I would be flying another 17 hours to Jakarta, I planned to sleep for a while as a preventive measure from getting sick when flying home. In reality, I overslept and woke up around 7.00 PM because of hunger. I took a quick bath and went down to have dinner with my colleague. As it was our last night in South Africa, me and my friend wanted to close the trip with a glass of beer. We then walked to the casino again since it was the only bar that we knew and the closest around the resort. Unsurprisingly, at the casino we met several friends from the tour who was there before us playing all kind of games. To some, the thrill of gambling enfolds certain persona that cannot be resisted. In contrast, me and my friend plus another that we met at the casino were not interested at all and continued with our original beer plan. So we sat there at the bar, ordered a few glasses, and smoked our cigarettes. We were so engaged with our conversation and did not notice that the smoke of our cigarettes caught the attention of a few Caucasian teens sitting next to us. Out of the blue they approached us and politely asked for a smoke. That one stick apparently bridged our differences and started hours of interesting conversation with them. They told us that the four of them were college students who at that time on vacation, yet they had to work their way through holiday by working at their parents farm near from the resort. From them we also understood how South Africa had changed since Apartheid was abolished, yet the impacts were not always positive as natives sometimes stretched the boundaries of their freedom to legitimize stealing from foreign immigrants. That and so much more, our conversation flowed endlessly; however, the one thing that I remember, they told us that our cigarette smelled like weed and it would be a definite sold-out if they had it there in South Africa, what a laugh, what a night, and what a closure!

The wave pool of Sun City

The wave pool of Sun City

An amphitheater

An amphitheater

DAY VI

All good things must come to an end and so did our South Africa trip. The gang sluggishly gathered at the hotel lobby waiting for the bus to arrive; yet, it never came. Our bus had trouble again, this time it was the machine. The tour leader took an initiative and hired the Sun City bus to save time. An hour later we arrived at one out of three stops that we made at that last day. It was lunch at the Carnivore Restaurant inside the Misty Hills Country Hotel complex. It was a unique and very meaty lunch, as the restaurant featured an all-you-can-eat grill buffet of giraffe, wildebeest, ostrich, pork, zebra, and crocodile meat. It was even more interesting when the waiter came and served the meat, as it was skewered on a Maasai sword and sliced directly on our casted-iron plates. When eating we were advised to use one of the six sauces provided at the table, each with a specific function. And among all that I tasted that day, I conventionally enjoyed grilled pork meat the most.

Entrance to the Carnivore Restaurant

Entrance to the Carnivore Restaurant

A huge charcoal grill

A huge charcoal grill

Six different sauces

Six different sauces

Carnivore restaurant was one out of three stops that we made that day, while the second was a big souvenir shop called Cambanos and Son. For me, buying gifts or souvenir is a confusing experience, because I always try to find something that is unique and useful at the same time. As it was the last chance to shop, I spent an amount of time searched the store and decided to buy fridge magnets instead. Actually stuffs were more expensive than the ones we met along the trip, but the store had a complete variety of souvenirs, starting from wood carving, precious stones, key chains, t-shirts, animal skins, and many more; so I thought we were paying more for a more comfortable way of shopping. I queued at the cashier and looked around. Seemingly, everybody was also busy selecting stuffs and making sure that they did not miss anyone back home. The group eventually bought more souvenirs on top of all the things that they had bought along the trip. Back on the bus, I overheard several conversations with the same main topic, how to check-in at the airport without being charged for overweighed luggage. To them I offered to check-in under my name since I was only using 9 kg out of 20 kg limit per person; of course one of them immediately took my offer and I was glad to help.

Cambanos & Son

Cambanos & Son

Inside the store

Inside the store

That conversation on the bus took us to the third and final stop before going to OR Tambo International Airport. This place also involved spending more Rand as it was the Sandton City Shopping Center, the third largest shopping mall in South Africa. I had an amount of Rand money left and I thought it would not be beneficial if I kept plenty of them. We were only scheduled to stay there for an hour, thus, I quickly browsed the stores and thought what to buy with my money. After walking far enough, I resolved myself in buying a pair of sneakers. It had a nice color mix and was not available in Indonesia, yet I was surprised when seeing the tag inside the shoes, it was made in Indonesia! I bought it anyway and kept enough Rand money as a reminder that I had visited South Africa. Just in time, I finished my transaction at the cashier and it was time to get back on the bus. Sad as it is, the end was near. Around 10.00 PM our plane to Dubai International Airport took-off and it marked the first half of our journey back to Indonesia. The next morning we arrived in Dubai and boarded another plane to complete the second half of our journey. And the trip officially ended when we reached Soekarno-Hatta International Airport of Jakarta at the evening of November 22nd.

For more pictures of my South Africa trip, this is the link to my Picasa album.

J.E.Isabella

Dear,

I hope you understand that I am concerning about your health tomorrow if you stay up too late and have to wake up very early in the morning. I wish I was there to change that unhappy face of yours myself, but unfortunately I am not.

About your question, it may sounds like a simple question that is easily met by a simple answer, but to me it is not. I always try to be the man of my word; hence I need a proper time and words to express my answer. Accordingly, text message is not the right place for me and I will not be able to say it right directly to you, so I guess an e-mail is my solution.

At the beginning it was strange and still is. It is not every day a woman sends me messages asking for my name and everything that is around me. There were even moments that I thought you were one my friends trying to test my nerve. However, when I give it a real thinking, I feel truly blessed. I remember I prayed for a company that is beautiful inside/outside, loves her family, and above all a Catholic as well. And just when I began to forget about it and thought that God had other plans for me, you came along. I try not to keep my hope up to high, since we barely know each other and as I told you the other day, everything needs a process. But I promise you, I am giving my best effort to make this work and if you are willing to even give this a try, I humbly thanking you from the bottom of my heart.

Of course there will be times when I cause discomfort for you and vice versa, such as happening at the moment. And from my previous experience, I assure you that there will be many more to come. Yet, communication is the only thing we have, so please, even if you are angry, say that you are angry, if you feel disappointed then say that it is not meeting your expectation, or when you feel sad, say that you are unhappy and tell me what I can do to make it right.

As you can see, I am starting to give you more than what you ask, so I better stop it right here.

To tell you the truth, my head hurts and I am very tired, so maybe it is not the best answer in the world, but I think it is enough.

Have a good sleep and good nite.

 

“To see you is one thing I failed to attain, but I appreciated the time when you reached out to me. Someday, somehow?”