A Short Trip to Bangkalan, Madura

A friend of mine once told me that I’m not the kind of person who can be spontaneous. And she said that I need to slack off once in a while, and be more impulsive once in a while.

So last Friday evening, when a friend of mine took me home after dinner and then asked me to join him and his friend to go to Bangkalan, Madura and watch the sun rise in a lighthouse he once found when he was there, I got persuaded and finally decided to go. Of course, I made the decision only after they assured me that I’d be home soon enough to get to work on time.

Well, to me that’s probably one of few spontaneous thing I’d ever done.

So, barely getting enough sleep (because I went home pretty late that night and so I was afraid that if I’d slept soundly that night, I wouldn’t be able to get up on time), I woke up at 3.30 the next morning. Preparing stuffs that I needed, my friends picked me up at my boarding house 30 minutes later. The three of us would travel by motorbike.

FYI, in order to get to Bangkalan, Madura, we would need to cross the Suramadu (Surabaya-Madura?) bridge first.

As we crossed the bridge, I regretted my choice of clothes right away. I wasn’t wearing shoes (sandals instead) or scarf (to cover my neck–I was worried about my cough considering how strong the cold wind blew at that time, especially since I’m on a motorbike) and I thought that I should’ve worn something warmer. But of course, it was too late to go back at that time, and I thought that I could stand the cold just fine, and that I only do this kind of thing once in a while, and lastly, I tried to reassure myself by saying that my immune system is not that weak.

And putting such troublesome thoughts aside, my friends and I managed to stop somewhere in the middle of the bridge (we were lucky that we didn’t got caught, really!) to see the night view from the bridge. I tried to take some picture before we moved on, but it was really hard for me to get a good shot.

My failed attempt to take a picture of the night view (using my digital camera).
The only successful attempt (which was taken with my iPhone).

Afterwards, entering Madura, the path we took was pretty scary for me. It was really dark all around, and I could only imagine what the surrounding was like from my friend’s saying, “In daylight, you’d see rice fields, trees and wild grass here and there. Well, just imagine the scenery of Africa you usually saw in the movie.” Well, Africa may be too extreme, I think, but my mind flew to Disney’s The Lion King right away.

Getting closer to our destination, we could see the sky beginning to lighten up. Uh-oh. No good. The sun’s about to rise. So we rushed.

But then something happened. More specifically, flat tire happened. And worse, there weren’t any place where we could patch the tire that early, none of them would have open at that time of the day. But we tried and tried.

After dragging the motorcycle for some miles, the sun rose higher and finally we realized that we’d just skipped the sunrise. There’s no way we could get to the lighthouse on time. So we thought we’d just call it a day and decided that we’d come again another day.

Finally, my friend decided to park his motorbike on the side of the road, and the three of us would use the only motorbike left, used by my other friend (remember, there were 3 of us, and 2 of them were riding the motorbike while I hitchhiked on one of the bikes) to get to our destination.

By the time we arrived there, it was bright already, but we got there.

I’ve never seen a lighthouse before, and that was my first time.

Apparently it was an old lighthouse built long time ago, when Indonesia was still the Dutch East Indies. All we knew (and heard) is that during the World War II, when our country was invaded by the Japanese, whenever a Japanese ship was nearby, the lighthouse would stop operating.

Getting a bit sleepy already from my lack of sleep, I couldn’t believe my ears when my friends told me that there were 15 staircases to climb before we get to the top.

So after several rests, dizziness (all me, really, the boys didn’t seem like they’re tired at all), and complaints, finally we got to the top.

And the view was breathtaking. I didn’t travel very often, and I hate to admit that I’m actually more of a mall-person than a hiker, nature-lover or such person, so I got really awed to see such view which I rarely come across.

The view is superb. Too bad the trashes were all around.

Of course, we didn’t come empty handed. We brought instant noodles and coffee–we thought it would be nice to have an early breakfast and morning coffee while watching the sunrise, and one of my friend brought his portable mini stove.

Inside the lighthouse, ready to eat our instant noodles.
Sipping my morning coffee. Mmmmm coffee! :-9

After getting enough shots using our smartphones and digital cameras, we decided to go back home. It was around 7.30 AM, if I had not mistaken.

First, though, we need to deal with the flat tire. We got back to the place where one of my friend parked his motorbike (which luckily didn’t get towed or stolen–theft is a pretty common issue here), and since it was a bit later than when we first arrived, we finally managed to find a place to patch the tire.

And then we went home.

Rice fields on our way home.

1st Interview (with The Coffee Traveler)

I’m not a backpacker. Yet. Do I want to be a backpacker. I don’t know. I might be one someday.

Anyway, I’ve been reading some traveling blogs lately (The Naked Traveler and The Coffee Traveler), and I would love to travel somewhere someday, like, to see the other side of the world. Seriously, I’ve never been anywhere but Java and Bali. I really need to go out more, somewhere farther, right?

Until the perfect time come (crossing fingers!), I’ve managed to interview the writer of the blog The Coffee Traveler: Angga Elfuego.

Who’s Angga?

Well, other than he’s being my co-worker during the 2010 LoVED at Satya Wacana’s English Department, he’s also my junior. We’ve been in the same department for about two years.

So, Angga, here, loves travelling, and sometimes, he would post something about travelling (actually, all posts in his blog are all about travelling). Some post are taken from The Naked Traveler, as he mentioned in his blog, and sometimes he would share his opinions and experience during his travelling somewhere.

You can read more about it in his blog (click here, or check the blog roll on the sidebar on the right), and my interview would involve other thing that he hasn’t posted in his blog (you can read other things in his blog yourself), I hope any of the information would be useful for you :)

  1. Q: When did you first start travelling and where to? Tell us more about how you felt when you were about to travel for the very first time.
    A: Hmm, I can’t remember exactly when I started my first trips. About 2 years ago, I went to Jogjakarta (the best city for beginner). I felt nervous the first time, yet  excited, but it always happen to me anyway, every time I’m about to start going somewhere.
  2. Q: Where did you go on your last travelling?
    A: I went to Ternate and Jailolo, North Halmahera.
  3. Q: How many times have you been travelling (both overseas and inside the country)?
    A: I’ve backpacked overseas once, to Singapore. The other 19 times I traveled inside the country.
  4. Q: How often do you travel?
    A: Probably countless. I’m not the kind of person who loves staying in my boarding house, in an office, or even inside a class. Wherever I go, I always consider it as traveling.
  5. Q: You’re being quite harsh about people who don’t really travel a lot (or people who never even travel) in your post ‘Why Should You Quit Your Job and Travel Around the World’, now I’m gonna ask you back some questions you were asking in that post: (1) What did you learn on those trips? (2) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?
    A: All backpackers’ dream is to go around the world, even to a hole on the wall, perhaps. If you ask me, here is the list:
    – Indonesia: Ubud, Bali (I always want to be go back there), Batam, Riau Island, Raja Ampat, Papua, Gilli Trawangan, Bromo, Grand Canyon, lake Toba, and all around Sumatra.
    – Abroad: Phuket (Thailand), Hanoi (Vietnam)–I’m visiting this country next year, Bangkok (Thailand), Hawaii, New South Wales, France (especially to Louvre, the biggest art gallery in France), Molen van Stolen windmill (Amsterdam, Holland), New York, and many more. I can spend all year round telling you all about it, haha.
  6. Q: Amongst all the places you’ve ever been to, what’s your favorite place?
    A: Those who think Indonesia is lacking of interesting places, visit Ubud, Bali.
  7. Q: What do you hate the most about travelling?
    A: I think all bakpackers would be agree with me. Most Indonesians are friendly and warmly welcome backpackers. However, if we travel overseas we will face many things, starting from the immigration process that (sometimes) make us give up traveling overseas  and some people who are unfriendly with us.
  8. Q: Who do you usually travel with? Do you prefer travelling in groups, or alone?
    A: I used to travel with my friends from Backpacker Indonesia, yet I often traveled alone and later I met another backpackers during travelling.
  9. Q: If you got one million dollar you would…
    A: If I got one million dollar, I would treat you. I wouldn’t spend it for traveling. I don’t bring a lot of money during traveling because I’m not going to visit Emporio Armani’s store.
  10. Q: What do you think could stop you from travelling?
    A: Frankly speaking, I’m not always lucky dealing with the immigration process. Back to the question number 7, not all countries are openly welcome backpackers.

I would say I totally agree with no. 7. I tried to get my passport done a couple months ago, and I took the hard-long-way to make a passport. Say it’s much cheaper (most people have someone to get their passport done, mostly through ‘calo’, which is why they paid much-much more), and I’m not really in a rush. I just happen to have the cash and when there’s still time, why not now?

Well, Angga sure gave us a lot of recommendation of where to go both inside and outside the country. Other than the list, we do hope that the other information might be useful for you! More to come! Don’t forget to visit Angga’s blog!

Oh, btw, Angga has a twitter too, click here to go to his twitter account.