The Exotism of Bandung

The West frequently say that Indonesia is an exotic country. It has multitudes of ethnics, culture, prominent cites, scenery, and the people (which many considered amiable) which are quickly yet increasingly renowned by all over the world. That is, Bandung is considered to be counted in. After Bali, the coloquially-called The City of Kembang, in my mere opinion, is one of those valuable prize which are labelled as the most exotic towns in Indonesia. What then seems to be the proper criterias for this town which is officially estimated to have the highest rainfall throughout the archipelago? How does this densely-populated, unreasonably populous town have to be so impressive, making not only many people living outside of town but also hundreds of tourists would visit the endearing, lovely town any day?

I was so honoured to have the privilege to visit Bandung for countless times. In 2013, precisely at the end of January, my chances are getting back. I was abruptly waiting my broken laptop which was being repaired. In the meantime, fortunately, my aunt, Tante Lies, made some time to visit Bandung in such a way. She was having her breaking days off the office (which I probably would say her so-called ‘leave’, escaping her from full days of work and meetings in such a long time) for a moment served by her company in Pontianak, West Kalimantan. Able to relish her from the tormented works and the like, (plus) not having so many times to catch holidays, she decided to go to Bandung. She thought that Bandung was the perfect choice for the Workmanlike like her. I was undecidedly privileged when she rang me that afternoon, asking me whether I was able to accompany her to take her walk around the downtown and visit and buy some stuff she probably would fancy. Tortured in boredom, I decided just to say yes, since I possibly knew that this might be something cool. (Well, rather than having no one to talk to at your hostel, no?)

And so, then, be it. The next day, I went to Bandung by Damri (a common bus) which was a 45-minute trip, but it was totally worth enjoying. It was such a delightful trip from Jatinangor to Bandung, making me keep calm, be comfortably seated, witnessing such keen, handsome sceneries and corn fields only with my two naked eyes I kept open wide during the trip. Some things I have never before seen in Tangerang (all dusts, people smoking, and polluted air). Tante Lies and I had a deal that we happened to meet not at the downtown, but at Pasar Baru, which is commonly known as the biggest garment and textile market in this City of Kembang. She also reasserted that she wouldn’t come on her own; her tennis friend, Tante Sukoni, was the one who actually asked her to go to Bandung.  So, she’s safe.

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Pasar Baru, the front side

I arrived right at the Otto Iskandardinata intersection. There, more than a hundred of stores, warungs (a small shop selling daily needs), shops, grocery stores, and depots you can only see. Not only that, women, men–and sometimes both with their kids or babies–carrying a lot of plastic bags under the shining sun are the second things as far as the eyes can see, making me a little bit frustrated to get out of the crowd and avoid people passing through right in front of me to make their own ways.

Afterwards, I met Tante Lies preceded with a little ‘snog’ on my both cheeks when we greeted and said ‘Hello’ to each other. We talked a lot about how everything is going–about hers and mine. Colleges, works, studying, holidays, and everything. I said college did me good, while sometimes it can turn out to be somewhat demented, along with homeworks, presentations, meetings, and the other random, unexpected, yet cool college stuff. We both were pretty excited sharing each other’s stories while walking down through the Pasar Baru yard.

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The Trading

Thank God, I brought some money. Hadn’t I bought some, I would’ve just watched these old ladies (read: emak-emak) strolling down the hall of the eight-story Pasar Baru, window-shopping the whole stores without buying them authoratively; nevertheless, what happened in that Department Store was just totally different. In Bandung, the stores are widely separated one another, making the buyers had enough space to slip and walk through one store to another. Furthermore, they had ACs (Air Conditioners)! Even though, people were so crazy about buying stuff in such a great amount, and had to jostle along with the crowding flow, they, probably, will always, in fact, be in a good mood. There, I bought a fancy denim. one dandy leather jacket, and a pair of brown, furnished shoes with a negotiable price. That is, I think, what makes Bandung is just more interesting to visit any day.

Later that night, we went to Yoghurt Cisangkuy, located not very far from Pasar Baru. After having some bites of Kue Serabi (a typical, round-shaped cake from West Java made of sticky rice and coconut milk, best eaten with hot milk), and batagor (a typical snack from West Java), we headed straight to Mrs. Sukoni’s home. In the morning, Mrs. Sukoni woke me and Tante Lies up and asked us to accompany her walk around the Gasibu, a distinctive, unique traditional market located all along the Dago Street, in front of Telkom Yard. Oh my, I could have never been more frustrated than accompanying women shopping. It’s unbearable, though. I’m surrounded with a bunch of shoppaholics right here. Help!

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Gasibu Traditional Market

At the end of the day in Bandung, Mrs. Sukoni asked us (once again!) to munch a little bit of pristine West Java culture taste in a bowl of Mie Kocok. Afterwards, for the final destination, Mrs. Sukoni and her family escorted me in front of Kampus UNPAD Dipati Ukur and I had to leave Bandung with such a sinking feeling that I could never forget how Tante Lies gave her goodbye kiss and some of her money to me. It was quiet something.

All in all, my two-day experience and amusing trip in Bandung would never be forgotten. At least, I could spend my holiday time effectively and fulfill it respectively. Bandung is, in a mere word, exotic. There, not only can you see a lot of stores, grocery stores selling stuff you fancy, under the warmth of the lovely town’s sun with cold and refreshing air, but also the SILVERMEN! Aha. The Silvermen are what I noticed pretty attentively. All over Bandung streets, intersections, gas stations, and hotel yards, you can notice young men with their silver-painted body carrying box for funds, orphanages, or mosque construction donation; they’re everywhere!

Silverman
Silverman
Mirrorman
Mirrorman

I would just visit Bandung everytime you have time. I, somehow, can relish my boredom and fulfill my longing days of homeworks and college stuff only by looking and watching the beauty red lights of traffic jam at twilight.

Cheers.

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