Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
The day, Saturday 15th, 2014. My partner in crime, Arif Rahman, had put the pedal to the medal. The car was a brand new Nissan March in olive green, relatively fresh from the factory. It had about 370 km so the engine has had enough warming up and can be optimally pushed and shoved through our trip. We had switched turns and Arif seemed to have a blast responsibly speeding up as we headed to Bandung.
Driving to Bandung on the weekends isn’t my cup of tea. The streets are jammed packed with out of town visitors that are looking for a cool breeze for a day or two. But I was relieved to know that our 1200 cc Nissan March is a city car that had an automatic shift, which means the traffic would be a piece of cake. The standard was 1200 cc, but there are other variants like the 1500 cc for those who would want more acceleration, and the XS version, which includes the immobilizer key, different dashboard and steering wheel features. The automatic shifting didn’t accelerate as fast as we would like it to, but who’s really in a hurry in a city car?
I’ve never been much of a car geek. So I was pretty impressed with general features of Nissan’s new March such as the spacious interior which isn’t visible from the outsite (and apparently works for bigger bodies), the surprisingly stability with high speed (yeah, we kinda went fast and furious a bit), and it had a heater (great for the rainy part of the day in Bandung). It also had a pretty big baggage for a small car. My favorite feature had to be the dashboard screen (only on certain variants), which had a fatigue detector that can remind you to rest or important dates like birthdays and anniversary. Because a birthday/anniversary reminder on Facebook is so last year!
Aside to driving a new car, I also had new friends. A lot of prominent bloggers participated in this trip, which was hosted by Polimoli.com. Motul, Didut, Chichi, Chika, Iman, Ifan, Dita, and (my favorite name of the trip) Ipi. Not forgetting Arif of course. With games and gossip along the way, it was another fresh encounter to the blogging world in Indonesia. Me likey!
Not all is new on this trip. Bandung itself is the town where I was born and raised, thus I call it home. It seemed that nothing new would impress me aside to my new CD and t-shirt I bought during shopping time. But my recent encounter with the old history of Batavia had me reflecting on Bandung. And whadya know? Behind the shopping façade of Riau street of Factory Outlets and such, were old colonial houses.
Arif and I decided to walkabout a bit to visit some of our other favorite shops on Trunojoyo steet. While doing so, I was pretty amazed that I never paid as much attention to these historical dwellings. Riau street and its surroundings are one of those areas that had many old houses and many of them looked like they dated back to the Dutch times. Some houses are covered by the new shops, but they still manage to be visible. With many of the trees still standing around the area, I could have imagined what it used to look and feel back in the days. OK, fair enough, there were a lot of cars and people and I had to imagine hard, but the smaller streets of the area present a quiet ambiance where I didn’t have to imagine as effortful.
And what is a post about Bandung without its food? It’s a savory dish lacking of salt. Bandung is a city of culinary heaven. We had an interesting set of places to eat, from traditional Sundanese food, dinner at a restaurant that has been around for some time, to the new like Upper East in the Dago area. One step closer to the real thing in New York, here’s hoping. Speaking of new, I won me a new power bank in a game of wordplay partnering with Arif. Awesome!
By the end of the trip, I revert back to my old likings. I like it when I see old faces in new places, meeting up with old friends in new destinations. But in the circumstances of ‘New March Day’, the saying would have to change into ‘I like new faces in old places’. And I like the ring to that.
Thank you Nissan and Polimoli for taking us for the ride and still my own voice on this post.