Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Road trips are awesome journeys that people should do at least once in their lifetime. It doesn’t take much; all you need is a car, enough cash to survive. And like any journey, a few more people that can help with the expenses and possibly the task of driving. It’s also an alternative way to travel with your family, especially if you have children. As a product of road trips myself, I can tell you they’re really entertaining for kids. If I had a car on my own that was fit enough for the road, I probably would road trip more often. So, once there was an opportunity, I ‘yes’ed to a road trip to Cirebon.
On road trips, Indohoy has been on a few such as to Dieng, Bali (with the VW), Bandung, and Komodo Islands. Personally, I can’t get enough of them, partly because I love to drive. This time, I did a road trip to Cirebon with Windy and Vindhya to rediscover the destination and relive my love for road trips. Why Cirebon? Driving 4-5 hours and spending 3-days-2-nights in Cirebon seemed right. With this, I’m sharing a few reasons (that could be traveling tips) to do road trips.
First thing’s, first. We had no itinerary!
Sure, having a plan when you travel is also a great thing. You can optimize your time by doing things you want and not use less for unnecessary activities like taking a second siesta (it’s a thing in my world, thank you!). However, having no itinerary entitles you to travel on your own pace and opens unexpected paths. It gives you such freedom; surrendering to what the world wants to show you at that given time. And with a car in our possession, freedom is at its best! We can go anywhere, anytime, circumstances permitting.
Making stops along the way to Cirebon.
With time on our hands, we could travel into the deeper Trusmi by ‘becak’ since the small alleys aren’t for the four-wheels. We steeped into the home of Pak Udin, owner of a small batik business. Within the small workroom, were four deserted batik stations, circling a pan filled with wax. Outside, wet colorful batik cloths were hanging to dry. Pak Udin, the owner, and Pak Aziz, an employee, were left to clean up for the day. Thus, we had more time and attention to talk about the production of these ridiculously cheap cloths.
Business owners can go topless in their shop.
Stumbling a bit on history, we also visited Trusmi’s grave. Being a man who distributed Islam, also feeding this village and a wider industry for about 500 years, there’s no doubt why his tomb has become sacred land.
We also visited Kanoman Market, where local goods were sold. We passed through the main alley, failing to resist the temptation of buying traditional cakes.
“Where are you from?” asked a salty-fish seller.
“Jakarta,” I answered with a smile.
“Do you know Dewi Persik (local folk song singer famous for rocking gossip shows)?” she asked me. I try to keep a straight face seeing her enthusiastic face, though I feel I failed.
“I’m sorry, I don’t. Jakarta is very big,” I answered politely but sad to see the disappointment on her face.
Surprise! At the end of the Kanoman market, was one of the many small palaces of Cirebon. Plates on walls spread through out the old gates and mediation area with a new white coat. We peeked in, following Ibu Erna, a resident and still part of the large royal family. The palace was pretty odd, with rough rocks decorating the room and backyard. As we sat in the middle yard, listening stories from Ibu Erna, I paused to think how similar this looks to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia’s structure. My imagination runs wild with me thinking, the palace has been around longer than Gaudi, would it be possible that Gaudi was inspired by the rough rocks of Cirebon palace?
As long as there’s a road that could fit a car, any destination is possible, even if that included driving head on through a one-way street and moving reverse on a highway. With a private vehicle, you can travel wherever you please.
Thinking 5 hours to Cirebon wasn’t far enough, we decided to travel to Kuningan and visit an old legendary museum. Linggarjati museum, located in the Linggadjati village, is on our historical map as a place of negotiation to determine the independence of Indonesia from the Dutch. It’s in every history textbook. This venue used to be a hotel for the wealthy and seem to be a neutral ground for both Indonesia and the Dutch. Having to pop in and out of accommodations for the past few years, I couldn’t help focus more on how hotels used to be and linger less on the history. I can imagine how serene and relaxing it would be to stay here, back in the days. Until today, the former hotel remains to be a beautiful venue that I’d stay in, especially since it’s one of the very few Dutch buildings that it doesn’t have spooky stories attached to it.
Rather than heading straight for home, we detoured because Windy wanted ‘martabak’ or Indonesian pancake sold in Bandung. We took a 130 km detour to get a snack just because we can! Of course, we learned that 130 km is a leisurely 3-4 hour drive with all the trucks struggling up the narrow two-lane road. This ended us with late dinners and dessert before the main course. But who’s to tell we couldn’t do it?
I totally missed the point when Tari, a friend of mine, insisted that she bring the inside of half of her closet on our 11-day escapade in 2009. I thought she had an inner diva that needed to be fed because she couldn’t choose a handful of clothes for the journey. What I missed was the fact that you could bring ANYTHING (yes, I meant that caps lock) on a road trip as long as it fit in the car. Thus, I took this opportunity to do just that.
The theme was ‘Fabulous but wrong’. I even brought my stylist!
I brought more that I needed on such a short trip, such as wedges, snorkel, beanie, and I had room to rob a cat, to make some fun photos. Of course, I dragged my travel mates in it. The theme was supermodel photo shoot with something off. And naturally, I’d let you judge them. So what do you think? Was it worth taking props and create such ‘art’?
From madame to preppy to dinosaur.
And do I have to mention how we could buy things on the road and just chuck it in the car? Or how Vindhya could fall asleep horizontally, resting her numb senses from her cold? Long live road trips!
Without splurging too much about the new Nissan Grand Livina we used, I just want to say that I’m impressed with the suspension being stable over 120 km/hour, the space that fit all our junk, and the pretty cool design. Not too shabby, mate! However, as nice as the car was, it was more of the adventure on the road for the three of us. That’s the quintessential of a road trip, right?
Thank you, Windy, for taking me on another absurd fun journey. You’re always a travel devil by heart. Vindhya, thanks for putting up being the treasury even with a bad cold. You’re our princess for sure!
By the way, you might like a few of our other stories about Cirebon: