Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 4 January 2010 • Itinerary
We headed out from Surabaya the next morning. Man… it’s been some trip and it seems like it will never end… AND THAT’S A GOOD THING BECAUSE IT FELT GREAT! We bid our farewell to Piki, leaving him a house moderately messy. It’s always melancholic, saying good byes to close friends that now live in other cities and has started their own lives. But it is a good kind 🙂
Destination: Pekalongan or close to it
That morning, we said our farewell first to Indah, as she started to pushed her bike to the office. Her office isn’t that close, but she prefers it because it’s faster than the public transportation. Kudos to that!!
The next destination was Pekalongan, the city that is very known for its batik manufacturing. Yes I know we’ve been to a city if Batik, but again, every area has different patterns and tradition considering Batik. Pekalongan is quite distinct, noted by Batik Museum located in this city. We decided to use the main road of the Pantura route. Believe me, it was not a smooth ride. There was so many areas that had bad roads and desperately in need of asphalt.
To be honest, this lag of the trip wasn’t so special activity wise. We really just wanted to get to Pekalongan that night and it was a looong ride. A flat tire, a few stops on the road, a few pushes at gas stations (Puspita was starting to mope), a lot laughs and more melancholic sessions of traveling was what decorated the trip. So we’ll give a few pics of it, but no blab about it.
We didn’t make it to Pekalongan, it was a bit to far that we expected. We as in Sally and Aji decided we should just rest at Kendal, the city just before it. I can’t really describe how Kendal was since we came in at night and that means I was … zzz! And we didn’t stroll around because we were pretty tired. Sally being behind the wheel chose a hotel to stay in. A bed and a decent bathroom was all we needed. But the TV and AC did help a lot hehehe…
Destination: Jakarta, oh no!
Agenda: juicing out what is left of the adventure
It was the last day of our road trip. We were heading for the big city. Funny… it didn’t feel like going home that morning; just still heading to another city. Which was true! We had plans to stop at Pekalongan and Cirebon. Two cities that are very famous for its Batik, which are very different in pattern, yet the cities are located so close to each other.
Reaching to Pekalongan we headed straight to the famous Batik museum. Here we plan to learn much about out traditional cloth. Located in the middle of the city, the Muesum of Batik has an extended range of collection that they rotate in displaying every 4 months. Too bad, we were prohibited to bring a camera in, but we totally respect that especially since neighboring countries have been claiming this tradition… Hello!
Irni, our guide and happens to be the designer of the display, became our guide around the museum. She’s really good! And turns out we went to the same college, but she took art of course. There are about 3 main rooms in the museum. The first one was the Pekalongan Batik room. There are quite a lot of Batiks displayed and had a history to it. From the European influence and drawings of flowers and stories such as Cinderella, to Chinese influences which was my favorite because they had a pattern called Pagi-Sore with 2 different sides that complement each other, and the true Indonesian pattern which is decorated more of the wings of the Garuda bird, our national symbol.
The next room was the room for Batik from all over Jawa and you could distinguish how different one another is. Irni educated us on patterns that are only allowed to be worn by royalty, special patterns from certain areas, and how to tell which from which. She claims to have just studied it all in about 3 months but her knowledge is damn impressive. The last room was filled with Batik from outside of Jawa. And what do you know? There were quite a lot. Batik made by Irwan Tirta, one of the most prominent Indonesian batik designer, was displayed in its own sub-room and they were and are beautiful. And he has made a lot of contribution towards the museum.
I totally recommend this museum to anyone, if necessary just make a special visit to Pekalongan to see this museum. You’ll learn so much and see such beautiful art work.
We then decided… we gotta gets some of this. Kauman is the place to visit. As most cities in Central Java, Kauman would be the area for making batik. We found the area which was a small aisle, similar to that in Solo. Arriving there, a man came to approached us and offered to bring us to his neighbor that produced batik. Shoppers…you can read on about this in the spend column! As you can see… we got ours!
Back on the road… still me behind the wheel. It was really stressful for me because the road was far from smooth, I still hesitated to overtake the trucks in front of me because of the road condition, and with more busses and trucks on the road, I felt smothered, not to mention the traffic jam when entering west Java. Trucks were all over and we were rarely moving. Sally here is my hero, she took over.
Unfortunately we entered Cirebon a bit too late. Even though we put Sally behind the wheel, we didn’t get there before dark. Hence, farewell for Trusmi for a while! Trusmi is the Kauman area for this city. Cirebon also has its own pattern of batik. Because it is also on the coast, the batik is usually very colorful. But what we did have time for was to eat Nasi Jamblang. We didn’t eat at the recommended venue, which is Nasi Jamblang Mang Dul, located across of Grage supermarket beside the BCA ATM, but we did eat at some random stall. And it was all good!
We came in Jakarta at about 2 am. Wew… Sally is one strong gal. I passed out in the backseat all night. I easily get sleepy if I don’t drive. We parked Puspita again at the car park where we started in the first place. Back to square one. It was predictably empty. We then used the remaining energy to bundle our stuff and hand carry what we can. By then, we took a taxi home. (May I remind you that our house can not contain Puspita. So we left her in the near by parking lot.)
Wait a minute… we never got to go swimming… this is not right, oh no!
It was really odd having to do such a trip, running up and down the coast of the island, and Bali, and still staying dry. It itched me and Sally bad! So we continued to the trip to the Kepulauan Seribu the next weekend. We didn’t go anywhere much different to what Vira did but we sure did get more information about it. It’s all on indohoy page on Kepulauan 1000.
And so that was my road trip. I fulfilled a vow I once made. There were lots of victims of our dare, victims of misinformation, and victims of our sleep over to their house and made a total mess out of it, all due to this road trip. But we’re not totally sorry… we love making chaos huahahahaha…
It felt great to see so many things in such a more spanned time compared to long weekends. It felt like home most of the time, as if we weren’t GOING somewhere but it was how we lived, on the road. I’ve already made another vow with Sally, but I’ll keep it a secret for the time being just not to jinx it. Hopefully we can do that one soon too and tell you all about it.
A goodbye from the roadtrip gang!
By the way, this is last entry for this road trip and the first entry of the year. Hope you guys had a great year cos we surely did, especially having to build Indohoy. We at Indohoy thank you for all your support and also those to come. Happy New Years! Have a great 2010! And have a great life! Stay tuned for next entries trips… adios!
Living dangerously on random street food.
Pekalongan – Jakarta
I’m not sure exactly where this little restaurant is located, but you can’t miss it! Why? Because they have an impressive advertising campaign. All along the road you will find these huge billboards advertising about Haji Subali who has the best Satay. And this is also we tested to be the children of media…. We bought the ad! The sate wasn’t disappointing, edible in the good way. For the foreign tonge, it’s a great taste.
There are a lot of these advertising all over the route, because Pantura is the main route. So I guess it’s good business. Shortly after we drove out of Haji Subali’s place… we found the next ad 😀 But for the next time?
If you’ve read Viras trip to Cirebon, then you’ll know all about Nasi Jamblang. It is the food to taste in Cirebon amongst many others.
After asking a few friends from Cirebon, we knew the favorite place to eat this rice dish is at Mang Dul restaurant, right across the Grage Supermarket beside the BCA ATM. Ask around, everyone at least know where Grage Supermarket is.
Because it is so famous, there are countless other street stalls selling Nasi Jamblang. We didn’t want to have the same ‘mystical’ experience as we did in Madura and Semarang. We said we would come to Cirebon to eat Nasi Jamblang, and we have to!!! Or else, the city wont less us go! *Twighlight music mode on*
So we pick a random stall across the street to the supermarket, but on another street. To me… again… it was all good. I enjoyed that last meal on the road trip, with all the goodies to choose from.
I don’t remember how we got to this hotel because I passed out in the back seat. Sally did the driving of course. Hotel Anugerah (translated Blessed Hotel) is on the main route through Kendal. It’s connected to a local sports hall.
The price of a room is Rp 160,000/ night. The rooms are equipped with AC, TV, inside bathroom, clean sheets, and great hot tea in the morning. At that lag of the trip, it was really luxury. However, there are a few more option of room and prices, and you can choose for you preference.
If you are interested, Kendal Hotel is located on Jl. Pemuda No. 87 or you can call +62-294 (area code) – 383825.
Once reaching the kauman area, there is no doubt that someone will approach you and offer services to take you to the ‘best’ place to shop. Again, the system is quite the same as in Surakarta. One old man insisted he had the best choice. We kinda declined this offer at first but since he insisted, we thought why not… and then we came to a… house??? Who’s house? It was the grey house on the first right turn once entering Kauman aisle.
The man knocked on the door and out came a mid old couple. And their house was a shop indeed. In this house, there are various batik products including dresses, shirts, tablecloth, scarf, skirts, and even raw textile that you can choose to saw yourself. This actually happens in every house that has a batik business. They will provide you with what they have and you will sit in the living room or such and choose away.
Their main business is whole sale to department stores, bigger stores, or by order. This couple happens to have a store too at PGS. But they keep one or two of their items at home just in case those ordering or retail buyers like us, drop by. We actually shopped till we dropped having limited amount of money. Pretty cool stuff, huh?
Now you can always go to the next house, which probably is the one next door, because the area, although not showing, is a batik district. And it goes all the way in each aisle of the area. You’ll be surprised of what they have in their houses. Some walls even have the batik factory behind it.