Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wisata Alam Gunung Mas

Saturday May 9th, I woke up at 5.30 am, get dressed (let's say I forgot to take a shower) and jump in the car. I and family were going to do a tea walk at Gunung Mas (GM), Puncak. Gunung Mas, means Gold Mountain in english, is a government's own tea plantation district that is open for public. From Jakarta to there at normal traffic will only take 2 hours.

We left the house at 6.00 AM hoping to reach GM before 8. We hoped to get there faster than normal since it was so early in the Saturday morning. The traffic was pretty good in Jakarta, but not until we get off the highway and reached Ciawi. From there on the traffic was so bad, the car only can go up to 5 - 10 km/hr. Geez, our prediction was wrong. Apparently there were so many hard working people who would woke up this early morning on holiday to get to Puncak (or it is us that are too lazy?)

It took us 3 hours to get to GM. When we arrived the sun already shone brightly. I opened the car window. The fresh air swiftly went in. Suddenly I got so pumped to get moving and to go hiking. Dad parked the car on the parking lot that were already loaded with other cars and tour buses. I get off the car, packed my backpack with water bottle, get on my training shoes and get ready to hike. Since Mom was there, we chose the 4 km track with easy slope for beginner.

The first path was to go through a tiny village. I noticed that the villager were mostly women and children. I wonder where the men are. Perhaps they were working outside of GM? The atmosphere were quiet and serene. Walking on the rocky pathway that morning, all I heard were the sound of running water, birds' twitter, and the sound of a split coconut midribs touching the ground a lady made when she broomed. Occasionally I heard children laughter and footsteps as they were running around playing chase. Very different situation to what I usually see around my neighborhood. At a split second I thought I would give up Jakarta's busy life to these environment for a change :)

Beyond the village we went through a tiny bridge; crossing the running water that fell into the rocks creating a puddle-like-lake on the bottom of the track. On the other side of the bridge, after going through large and tall old trees, there was the tea plantation. As far as my eyes could see was tea leaves. Everything was green. There was a mountain-like hills on the background, which made the scenery more breath-taking.

The pathway was not very rough. There were muddles and pebbles here and there, but it wasn't too bad for a beginner like myself. When we got in the middle of the track, the rain started to drizzle. Silly me, I forgot to bring an umbrella even though I brought quite a big backpack (d'och!). Dad scolded me saying that I only remember my sunglasses and camera but forgot the important thing like umbrella. Oops... It was true :p

Lucky there were some tall trees along the pathway. The bushy leaves prevent the water to dropped so we didn't get soaked. I forgot to mention that there were some mountain bikers went through the same pathway as we were. Their outfit were colourful. I took a snap of their photos because it add a pretty splash of colours to the scenery.

After tea walk, we went to the tea factory. For the guided tour around the factory we have to pay IDR 3000/person + IDR 20,000 for the guide. The guide showed us how to produce tea starting from the plantation, tea leaves, drying, crushing, sorting, fermentation, and up to the finished goods. We have to wear the clothing too! I look like a silly laborer, hehe..

After that we decided to go home. We found the traffic to go out of the area was horrible. The cars were not even moving! We thought we would rather wait there sipping tea than stuck in the car, so we parked our car back and headed to the nearby cafe.

Suddenly a glimpse of a beautiful creatures strike me. Oh my God, there were a ranch! I saw horses! If you remember, one of the things I want to do this year is horse riding (click here).

“What a perfect moment,” and I found myself skipping to where the horses were with joy. I ask the guy (we call him ujang) how much is it to go on a horse riding. He offered me 3 different prices:
- Half an hour ride to the nearby soccer field costs IDR 50,000.
- One hour ride to see the baby horses at the breeder stall costs IDR 100,000.
- and two hours ride to see Taman Safari from above costs IDR 200,000.

* 1 USD = 10,500 IDR

A bargaining skill was put to the test. Since it was for the three of us, we demanded a much cheaper price. We ask for IDR 50,000 for one hour ride. (For you who don't know, in Indonesia bargain starts on half price. Don't worry, the seller won't throw stuffs at you nor they won't speak rudely at you as it happens in some other country). After a “friendly fights”, we settled with IDR 60,000 per person ^^. Yee-haa, here we go...

I hopped on the tallest horses of the three. It was a she and her name was Dora; after Doraemon (uh-huh). The ujang told me that the horse already tamed and it was easy to ride it. Just pull the left strap to go left and right strap to go right. Pull both strap if you want to stop and kick a little if you want to go faster. He let me rode it by myself. He was right, it was not too hard to direct the horse.

We went through around the tea plantation again but on different track than before. After a while on a slow ride I wanted to go faster. I kicked the horse just a bit, but she won't go faster. What happen? Then the ujang told me to try different trick by saying “tsk tsk.. come Dora.. tsk tsk tsk” and then she go faster. It was fun, I enjoyed it. So I try to say the words again, “tsk tsk.. come Dora.. tsk tsk tsk”, and then she run! Waaaaa.. I never thought it was going to be that scary! It was hard to keep the balance and my butt pained!!! I stopped her right away. Lucky she obeyed me and slowed her pace. Pheww...

The ujang helped me to get off the horse. When Dad paid, he thank us for using the service with a big smile. I always love Sundanese people as they are so friendly. They always have the smile on their face and they greet each other a lot. Maybe because they live in the hills where there were no stress and traffic jam like in a big city like Jakarta. I also like the tone of their voice due to their dialect, it sort of like singing to my ear. Perhaps I should get Sundanese boyfriend, no? Kidding, hehehe...

Back to the story, after the horse riding the traffic was no longer jammed. We went to get lunch and ended our trip at Gunung Mas.

PS. I think I still got the sore on my butt after two days. It was worth it though, and I want to do it again =D

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

There is something about the rain

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass

It's about getting out there..

.. and dancing in the rain"

I remember when I was a kid my parents never allowed me to play outside when it rains. They always asked me to get into the house immediately as soon as the drizzle starts. I also remember I like to stand under the roof's edge and held my hands up to feel the drizzling water with my palm. And even that, I wasn't allowed. My parents really protected of me that they were afraid I will catch cold if I get wet. I hardly remember myself played under the rain ever when I was living with them.

As I grew up I remember clearly the day I last played in the rain. It was June 2007 in Gold Coast. Me and a bunch of friends chose the wrong date to go vacation on the beach. It rained on and off almost everyday over the 7 days holidays. When sun-bathing under a bright blue sky was no longer an option, we decided to play on the beach soaked over the rain. It was a total fun.

Last night the rain was pouring hard. Mom asked me to take my dog into the house to prevent her of getting wet. When I got out I found my dog was sitting elegantly with her head up, gazing into the rain. I called her. She shifted her head towards me. But instead of get into the house, she came to me and pulled my hand. I knew she wanted to play. And so I accepted the dog offer to play under the rain. We played chase and catch for a while until we both get wet.

The dog got quite noisy with her bark, perhaps too excited and happy. She always barks whenever we play. Sometimes her tiny little foot slips on the slippery floor of my porch. She was too cute.

... and then my mom came out and shouted at me to get inside and stop acting like a five years old.

I don't get why people view rain as a horrible thing. Do people forget that it is just water not ice nor any solid object that could break your head if it hits you?

Let me ask you this, when was the last time you played in the rain?

Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm feeling GREEN - story behind the new template

"Why don't you Green for me.
Green for my joy.
Green for my funny stories.
Green because your life is better than mine.
Or just Green me with envy"

Bored with my old-fashioned-o-so-standard template that I have used for the last 4 years, I decided to change the old looks into something more fun.

Too many variety available templates from the Magestic G. - the place where you can find almost everything. I found it hard to make decision.

1st option.
Pink is cute. But too cute for my content. Too cute for my taste.

2nd option.
Nice and simple. I posted it for an hour before I change my decision. Too simple makes it looks a little bit dull.

3rd option
-current templates-

I decided to use this Olive Green templates. CERIA* :)

Makes it looks yummy, fun, and youthfull. The image that I try to create.
What do you think?

*Ceria (Indonesian) means cheerful, joyful.

Images: Grin

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