Aviation, Movies, My Life, Travel, Uncategorized

What? Me? Appointed as YAP 2017?

16939225_10158256285910285_7130605907330102401_n

I remembered that on 25 January 2017 at 2300 hrs (it’s the aviation way how to write 1100 PM) I came back from work after spending more than 14 hours at the office, finishing business plan proposal and found an email coming from Montreal, Canada telling me that I had been selected as successful candidate for ICAO’s Young Aviation Professional Programme 2017.

Excited? YES. It was a mixed feelings between disbelieve, excitement, sadness, proud and confused.

At that time, I thought the email was a wrong addressed or even a spam. But I later digested what was actually written there and yet questioning, ‘Have I been really selected?’. The story began when I found an information on ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) on YAP vacancy. I subsequently thought what was YAP, was it something like an internship program, or development program? I had no clue.

As a aviation enthusiast, airplane and airports have become my main interest. I have been raised by 3 generation of pilots and flight attendants, making this industry not just simply a hobby, but I want to always contribute for the industry. Therefore I decided to study Aviation Management Masters course in Coventry University.

icao-young-aviation-professional-programme-2016

For your information, ICAO stands for International Civil Aviation Organisation. It’s a United Nations’ specialised agency for aviation and it’s a one kind agency, different than others such as WTO, UNICEF, UNESCO and others, as this agency works directly hand-in-hand with the industry.

ACI (Airport Council International) is a non-profit organisation that lead global airports which objective is to advance the interest of Airports to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations. As of 2017, ACI serves 623 members operating 1,940 airports in 176 countries.

IATA (International Air Transport Association) is also a trade organisation that lead airlines around the world in delivering the best quality to support the global aviation industry. Currently, IATA records 263 airline members which represents more than 80% of global traffic.

And Young Aviation Professional Program, is a 12-month graduate development program initiative which is run in collaboration with ACI and IATA. The successful candidate will be rotated to the 3 organisation (average rotation takes 4 months) and will be holding specific responsibility to support the main expertise in the area of technical, environment and economic development.

But first thing foremost, how did this happen?

When I returned from the UK back to Jakarta in September, I was completely clueless on what I should be doing after my Masters. I kept looking what’s available out there, until I found a post regarding this YAP 2017 vacancy, shared by my colleague back in Coventry. First I was like, ‘Oh forget about this, but let’s try’. Yes, the analogy meant a lot to me because I thought ICAO was like creme-de-la-creme of this industry.

The fact was that I had gone for interview here and there, and deciding where should I work afterwards. Luckily, I finally secured an offer coming from subsidiary company of Indonesia’s largest airport operator, to perform a role as Business Development Manager and I started my first day on the 1st November.

Accepting that position was one of the life changing experience. Because I definitely left my comfort zone as a PR professional. My previous career before my Masters was Public Relations or commonly known as Company Spokesperson. I was lucky enough to have had a chance of doing a career that broaden my vision towards aviation industry. My first job was with American’s Public Relations firm, Weber Shandwick based in Jakarta and worked closely with Singapore Airlines as their client for 3 years, and then I moved to AirAsia where I spent the last 3 years with them, learned a lot about low cost carrier business and crisis communication management (QZ 8501 incident).

The business development manager position which I recently accepted was completely enhancing my vision to aviation industry from a different perspective, the Airport point of view. I had spent all my life working with airlines, full service and low cost and once I completed my masters degree, I was always curious to work for the airport. It was more complex and I worked with one of the greatest mentors who previously worked with Indonesia’s flag carrier.

Switching the mindset from airline to airport was one of a challenging task that I have to deal with. I was in the position to ensure business profitability so that I had to work mostly with numbers, doing financial forecasting and ensuring the business is complied with safety security, border, and the business practice. I had really enjoyed my days working for the company, in fact I was in the state of comfort. I met so many talented people, and we got along very well.

On 25th November I had to come back to London for a week for my graduation. And when I touched down in Heathrow, I suddenly received the email saying I had been shortlisted. I was flabbergasted, disbelieving, but I said yes to proceed for Skype Interview the following week in Jakarta. During the interview itself, I was completely nervous, not just because the time difference, (AM in Montreal, PM in Jakarta) because I was interviewed by 7 people that consisted of ICAO, IATA and ACI. Initially, I thought I would have only been interviewed by 3 people from the respective organisation. The interview went pretty quick for 7 people. We had to answer the questions in a concise manner and efficient. It was like the most interesting job interview experience, as I never done Skype Job interview before.

Right, back to the main business, after I read the email twice, no, it’s actually 4 times. I tried to digest the point of the email, and later I was assured that I had been selected. ‘What? Me?’ I went directly to my parents – who were sleeping at that time, and I excitedly shouted loud that I had been selected by the ICAO. I still could not believe at all, and on the other hand I was very proud of myself. ICAO, ACI and IATA launched YAP program since 4 years ago, and I was the first Indonesian to be accepted in this prestigious program.

“The announcement came in late January and I was initially expected to report by mid February but due to circumstance they decided to move it to 1st of March! I only had 3 days to think and decide.” Nervous? I completely was.

16938621_10158232862505285_6554483130492633792_n

After consulting with my parents, and my current employer at that time, I had decided to accept this challenge. Only for one year, but I believe I would learn a lot of things from this program. So I decided to go. ICAO later assisted me with guidance on visa application. I applied the visa by end of January and they said the target of my reporting date would be 1st of March. Everything went smooth and the process were a bit of rush, especially finding the accommodation. Luckily, I secured my place right before I arrived and on 24 February, I flew to Montreal.

unspecified

I never thought of what Montreal city would be like. I never planned on coming to North America, or even Canada before as I thought this country was just too far away from Indonesia. Even before I stepped my feet on Qatar Airways from Jakarta to Montreal via Doha, I still could not believe it.

Once I arrived in P.E Trudeau Airport then I believed that I would have had a new life and experience here in Canada. I had one week to get familiarised with the city, and on 1 March my first day officially started. For this year’s YAP were selected from South Korea, Pakistan and Indonesia. We were welcomed by the ICAO, ACI and IATA representatives. Surprisingly to me, that the Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu attended the welcoming event.

Dr. Liu made a welcoming speech, and to my surprise that in her speech she said that the competition for this position was very tight. We had been selected out of approximately 500 global applicants.

unspecified 2

What is Montreal like?

Montreal definitely made great first impression to me. Although what I could see from my plane minutes before we touched down was merely snow and frozen lake (yes it is very cold during winter time), but the city is actually very vibrant, and laid back. Bare in mind that people here speak in two languages: French and English. It’s very challenging indeed but once you are here, you will get used to it. It’s easier for you to learn the language directly from the Native speakers, and people here are very open minded.

18221583_10158572298185285_1781318669130742886_n

18194776_10158572310420285_7827664144421483654_n

18058086_10158547762380285_6220468855924834760_n

The city may be incomparable with London, but, it has a lot to see and the fact that Montreal is way cheaper than London. It also looks very chic and reminds me to Paris. The city has a good integrated transport system, Metro, Buses and Taxis therefore commuting becomes more convenience. They said, the city doesn’t look good yet before summer, but I still like it in the winter, let alone in summer? I live in a French neighborhood, or to be exact in Parc Molson neighborhood. It’s a 20 minute from Square Victoria where my office is located. I decided not to live in city center, and trying so hard to find a lower duplex with backyard which allowed me to do activities during the weekend. The fact is, I found this amazing 3 and a half duplex with big bathroom, kitchen and backyard!

 

My rental house in Montreal

There is always start for something. Patience made it perfect right in time.

I will write more about this one year amazing experience. But the thing is, the main purpose of my writing here is to inspire the young generation, especially those who love aviation to catch for your dreams. I realise that most of those dreams are focused in Pilots or flight attendant jobs, but aside from that, there are plenty opportunities out there that you can still contribute for the industry. I started my career in this industry from Corporate Communications role 7 years ago and I felt blessed to ever get into this role that has opened so many opportunities for the industry because we are able to see the issues from the macro view.

The key is to accept that life is a continuous learning and full of surprises. Never let things let you down easily when you know you are having tough times by being underestimated by people. Just stay positive, consistent and be confident of who you are.

18119282_10158548055050285_7133030709307370397_n

‘There is a garden between the wrong doing and the right doing, and I will meet you there” – Rumi (My favorite Poet)

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Standard
Aviation, Friends & Hang Out, My Life, Travel

Heaven of The East: Ambon, Moluccas (Maluku) Part 1

‘Kota Ambon, Ibu Negeri Tanah Maluku, Di pinggir laut tempat kita berteduh..

Dari jauh.. terlihat gunung Salahutu, beta ingat dahulu beta disitu..’

-Intro lyrics of Kota Ambon song-

This post marks another memorable trip that I had planned. Why? Because despite short planning and zero knowledge about the city, we still could make the best journey ever! I am very grateful to get this opportunity, to witness another beauty of East Indonesia.

Ambon had been in my ‘must-visit-city-before-i-die’ list since long time ago, but whenever I wanted to go, I was always doubtful on going there alone due to safety concerns.

I had distinctively heard from many Ambonese whom I met in Jakarta, or even from a few foreigner friends who had been to Ambon, most of them said that this city had so many things to offer. Ambon doesn’t just offer its natural beauty but cultural diversity. Moreover, they said that Ambon and largely the greater Moluccas archipelago have numerous diving spots for experienced divers and snorkeling lovers around the world.

I am not a diver but from many pictures I saw, and based on the testimonies I heard, the group of Saparua island, especially Nusa Laut island is known for its underwater richness, they said Nusa Laut’s underwater contains richer marine biota than in Raja Ampat.

In fact, Moluccas is also popular as a region where high quality Indonesian singers come from. The Moluccans are blessed with colorful voices, let’s look at our brilliant singers such as Ruth Sahanaya, Utha Likumahua, and Glenn Fredly.

Having people singing is not a rare thing in Ambon. They like to sing and their voices are worth to be listened 🙂

Getting very excited for the first time..

I traveled with 2 companions who also had no idea what to see and what to do in Ambon. Both of them are my best friends where we shared a lot of things in common, especially having similar ways of traveling style. We sometimes picked random dates and getaway destinations, but this time I had succeeded to entice them to come with me to Ambon.

IMG_0123

Apparently, one of my travel mates knew someone from her parent’s relative, and they have been very helpful with our city tour arrangements starting lunch treats, transportation and visiting the best tourism sites in Ambon.

We departed without fixed itinerary, and we just wait until we arrived in Ambon. As for the flight, we took Garuda Indonesia’s first flight (departed at 00:30 hrs) with 20 minutes stopover in Makassar. Garuda Indonesia actually flies two times daily to Ambon, you can pick either the red-eye flight departing at 00:30 hrs (GA 640) with one stop over or 08:30 hrs (GA 646) direct. Since we preferred to spend more time in Ambon, so we chose the first flight.

IMG_0144SkyTeam Livery, PK-GMH

IMG_0154

IMG_0188Aglio Olio for my supper. I must admit this one is very delicious!

Regardless my concession tickets but my two other friends paid IDR 2.600.000,- (USD 240) each for economy class (promo fare) return flight. The fare is quiet reasonable compared to Jakarta – Lombok flights that have reached more than IDR 3.000.000,- (USD 260) return during that period.

IMG_0191

The flight was a red-eye flight, and our first leg was to Sultan Hassanudin International Airport in Makassar for 2 hours flight and we transited for only 30 minutes refueling. I met some of my dad’s colleagues who were in-charge as the captain and flight purser, during the crew change and they wondered to know what I would do in Ambon. I simply told them besides its natural beauty, I was inspired by those great singers and would love to hear how Ambonese sing live. Besides, I was also inspired by the beauty of the Moluccas that previously I only had seen them from pictures.

Once the crew change finished, we immediately took off at 0430 AM LT (GMT+8). The flight to Ambon from Makassar only took 1 hour and 45 minutes, just 40 minutes after take off, the sky was changing colors, indicating the breaking dawn.

IMG_0223

IMG_0227IMG_0236

Watching sunrise from East Indonesia airspace is the most favorite moment to me! I remembered when I flew to Biak and Jayapura a few years ago, I was very excited to see that breathtaking view, especially when you look outside your window and seeing the sky’s orange-purplish reflection towards the islands beneath, it’s just so perfect!

IMG_0243My seat after 4 hours

Time flew fast when you’re flying, at 7 o’clock am we started our descent and the Captain made pre-landing notice for the cabin crew. The plane banked into runway 04 approach. The orange sky had turned into light blue while the sunlight had begun to appear despite a few thunderstorm clouds were seen in distance. The sea was seen in a calm current, from the distance I could also see Salahutu Mt., Nona Mt., Amahusu bay, and Latuhalat before we finally touched down at Pattimura Airport, Ambon at 07.30 AM LT (GMT+9).

Flying to East Indonesia could be tricky, the flying hours for some indirect routes (or with 1 stop over in Makassar) could disrupt your sleeping pattern. When I flew to Jayapura with 2 stopovers via Makassar and Biak, I had a very bad jetlag upon arrival due to short sleep for 2 landings within 1.5 hours. This time, I flew with only one stop over, and I slept during Jakarta – Makassar flight not between Makassar – Ambon had made me pretty exhausted post flight.

IMG_0251

IMG_0253IMG_0258Selamat Pagi Ambon! Touched down at Pattimura Airport, Ambon (AMQ)

After taking our checked-in luggage, we met our private guide Pak Parjan and Pak Ismet who had been waiting for us at the arrival hall, and we headed directly to our hotel, Natsepa Resort and Conference.

Selamat Pagi, Selamat Datang di Natsepa Resort, Bapak Danang,” said one of Natsepa Resort and Conference’s concierge staffs who greeted us at the lobby upon our arrival after 40 minute drive from the airport.

Selamat Pagi! Thank you,” I cheered a smile. Natsepa Resort and Conference used to be managed by Aston with a previous name of Aston Natsepa. Natsepa Resort and Conference is known as one of the best accommodation in Ambon situated in Natsepa beach area. I booked this hotel directly from Booking.com for a deluxe twin bed that can be occupied by 3 persons maximum. The price per room and per night is quiet reasonable which is around Rp. 830.000,-  nett (USD 73) including breakfast for 2 persons.

IMG_0475

IMG_0473

IMG_0268My room’s balcony with a gorgeous view!

IMG_0275Left: public swimming pool, Right: Lagoon’s room private pool

The hotel ambiance was indeed relaxing, clean and provides generous room space. The hotel also has swimming pool where hotel guests can practice diving or if you have more budget you can pay Lagoon room that has its own pool. The hotel area is also far from the traffic and public crowd, besides each room of this hotel is indulged with breathtaking views, Natsepa beach and Salahutu Mountain.

IMG_0749The back view: Mt. Salahutu

Once check-in done, we were directly guided to our room which was located on the third floor overlooking to Natsepa bay and the swimming pool. I must say that that was one of the best view hotels that I’d ever had.

Liang Beach

The weather suddenly changed where clouds were seen above the horizon, giving signal to rain anytime soon, we decided to go out after 40 minutes rest, and we were heading to our first destination: Liang Beach. Liang Beach is located about 20 kms from Natsepa. And the best way to reach this preserved and pristine beach by car. You can ask the hotel to arrange a taxi for you that cost approximatley IDR 150,000,- one way or alternatively you can rent private car (Toyota Avanza) for IDR 600,000,- (USD 53)  for one day (excluding gasoline and driver tips). You should not worry about who would take you around because the car must be ready with a driver who could also be your guide.

After prepared my duffel bag with sufficient sunbathing and swimming amenities, we were set to go! However it was a bit unfortunate that the weather seemed wasn’t friendly enough, because the moment we left the hotel, the rain began to falling and even became worse. Apparently, early April is a transformation season in the Mollucas from dry to wet season.

The rain unfortunately getting worse when we arrived at the Liang Beach, we decided to wait until the rain went over with a few refreshments such as coffee, rujak and Indomie. Despite the thuderstorm clouds, what amazed me was the still capability of seeing the blue gradation of the sea water – indicated how clean the water is. Finally after almost nearly one hour waiting, the rain finally over. We immediately ran to the famous Liang Beach wooden pier which firmly stands near the shoreline.

IMG_0282

This view made me think of Maldives, or Seychelles, or wherever I could think of. I was just standing there being thankful for everything I could see.

IMG_0281Rujak Ambon

Liang Beach is one of the most favorit spots for  local fellows to hang out, followed by Natsepa shoreline where you can enjoy the famous Rujak ‘traditional fruit salad’ and the sweet sagu bakar (roast sago). However, you can still enjoy those foods at Liang Beach. The locals love the beach so much, especially the kids, where they expressed their freedom by jumping off from the pier to the water. If you’re lucky, you could see a group of dolphins swimming near you, like I did last time – or else a ship passing nearby.

IMG_0283

IMG_0372

Liang Beach is not wavy unlike most of beaches in Bali. The water is very calm with less waves but the current could be a bit strong.

IMG_0304

IMG_0363

IMG_0368

IMG_0412

After one hour, the sun lastly appeared from the breaking overcast clouds and we were excited to feel the heat. As a man who is a bit paranoid of swimming in the sea, better to stay nearby the shore, because I rather not to think of seeing a shark down there.

IMG_0376

After swimming, I went for fast rinse at the public bathroom (thank god for this). I’m a type of person who could not leave my body with dried salt water for too long thus I took a bath with fresh water jugs I bought earlier.

For all of you who cannot bare with salt water then you should bring your toiletteries, because you can use the public bathroom where they also sell fresh water (IDR 3.000,- per jug (USD 0.30). The bathroom is rather clean and thank god not stinky, so you should not worry about it.

 

Ambon’s Francis Xavier Cathedral

We only spent 2 hours in Liang Beach. Once we’re done we headed straight to Ambon city for our first day city tour. It is quiet exciting though, because we were pretty curious about what this city looked like and what life were like in the capital of Moluccas archipelago. Ambon city is located 36 kms from Pattimura International Airport, and situated near Ambon bay.

IMG_0667

It took for almost an hour for us to reach the city. Since it was nearly lunch time, Pak Parjan invited us to have lunch at his home as his wife had cooked us traditional dish. We were so delighted to accept his invitation.

Ambon’s city is quiet colorful, from the distance you can see the city center from the hilly road. The city looks vibrant and lively.

IMG_0418

In the middle of our journey, Pak Ismet stopped us in front of Ambon city’s Francis Xavier Cathedral (Roman catholic church) which is dubbed as one of the most remarkable historical sites in Ambon. The cathedral was built to commemorate St. Francis Xavier, a spanish roman catholic missionary who arrived in Ambon in 1546.

The cathedral was unfortunately locked hence we were not able to see the interior. After taking a few pictures of the church, we headed directly to Pak Parjan’s house for lunch. The house is located not far from the city center, situated on a hilly road. We were welcomed with genuine hospitality from the whole family. It was definitely pleasant to catch up with the locals and learning new things from them.

IMG_0429The food he had prepared for us. FEAST!

IMG_0433Fish and chicken are homemade! DELICIOUS.

IMG_0435Sharing is caring 🙂

IMG_0438Never seen a corn as big as this

Apparently, Pak Parjan and family had prepared a totally delicious home made lunch for three of us that suit our tastebuds. Chicken, fish, vegetables and fruits were taken from their own poultry and farm.

IMG_0441

The home is newly renovated, this house offers a great view on the top floor. Bayview and seaside home is very common here in Ambon, something that we rarely find in Jakarta.

 

Latuhalat & Lelisa Beach

After spending nearly an hour for lunch, Pak Parjan guided us to get ready as we were going to continue our trip to Latuhalat. I actually had no idea where he would’ve taken us, what he said was only “We’re going up to the hill, to see one of the best scenic view in town.” Then, we would’ve imagined a place similar to Bali’s Karma Kandara or Bali Cliff – only maybe there won’t be any alcohol beverage sold.

Latuhalat is located in the outskirt area of Ambon city where the road track was quiet hilly though the place was worth seeing. It was nearly sunset around 17.00 PM local time when we alighted from our car. We could feel the fresh air, and we hear the sound of the waves which triggered our curiousity to look beneath, we were apparently about 20 meters above the sea level.

IMG_0443

Pak Parjan later invited us to walk down to see the Ambon’s front door. We were actually curious about what door he’d been talking about. He told us just walk down the steps and see, and yet to enjoy every step down we made. We were stunned to see more than 50 steep steps leading us to the rocky shore. I frequently reminded my friends to watch their steps. Once we got down, we saw the Ambon’s entrance door, and I can say this place is quiet magnificent. How could I not be amazed to see a giant natural rock with half round hole that made it look like as if an entrance to the beach. The overlooking sea is Banda Sea, and the locals said this place was one of highly recommended places to enjoy the sunrise.

IMG_0449

We climbed up back to where our car was parked, stepping up approximately 50 stairs that caused severe exhaustion. “We shouldn’t have done this place today, I think I got to exhausted” I babbled to one of my mates, and she could not reply anything as she was gasping while we’re climbing the stairs. When we reached the top, we decided to sit down at a small open-air café to enjoy fresh coconut water and chatting with the café owners who apparently was a mixed Ambonese – Sundanese couple. They had figured out whereabout we were from, and there the man started conversation by revealing that he used to live in Jakarta for 20 years and still flying back and forth to Jakarta a lot these days. He was sharing his life experience and Jakarta and how he met the wife there until they decided to start a family business there in Latuhalat. The man told us that Ambon and specifically Latuhalat should’ve been potential for domestic or even foreign visitors, however, he could see that not so many local tourist comes to Ambon as many of them were brainwashed about visiting the islands known for conflict.

IMG_0457Collin Beach Resort

IMG_0456Lelisa Beach

Not far from Latuhalat, there is Lelisa Beach, situated in southern part of Ambon and managed by Collin Beach Resort. The beach itself is mostly surrounded by corals and rocks therefore is not comfortable for beach swimmers, but we spotted many foreigners stay in this resort. The resort may not look as fancy as Natsepa Resort and Conference however, this place has a perfect beach ambiance with many coconut trees, hammock, and lazy chairs.

Once we’re done with the sight seeing around Ambon, we wrapped our itinerary for that day as we all fell asleep directly when we reached the hotel and hit the bed.

 

Fort Amsterdam (Blokhuis Amsterdam), Immanuel Church, Wapauwe Mosque

On the second day in our itinerary, we woke up early at 07.00 AM, awakened by a beautiful sunrise in Ambon. I spent a little time sitting at my balcony to enjoy the morning sun’s heat, sipping Nescafe decaf and starring at the magnificent view of Natsepa bay.

IMG_0746

IMG_0466Enjoying the morning sun

IMG_0478

IMG_0664

We immediately packed up our amenities, each of us took a quick bath and ran for a short breakfast. Pak Parjan unfortunately unable to accompany us that day, he asked his son, Mas Hafni to guide us instead. Mas Hafni and Pak Ismet had been waiting for us at the lobby, they told us to be ready before 07.30 AM as we would travel a bit far to Hila Village in Leihitu to visit the famous Dutch fort in Ambon, Blokhuis Amsterdam and the surrounding sites.

IMG_0509Hila Village

IMG_0499IMG_0500Beta cinta Indonesia

IMG_0514Too dreamy to be true

IMG_0518

In Dutch, Blokhuis means Fort or a block house. It is built in a three floor structure, functioned as gunpowder warehouse and prisons. The 4.57 m x 5.3 m building has 2 windows on each side where you can spot scenic views from each side, beach and mountains. The Fort was abandoned by the Dutch colony in the early of the 20th century and restored by Indonesian Government in 1991.

IMG_0522

IMG_0523

We felt very lucky to have the best weather of the season. The sky was completely clear decorated with thin layered clouds stretching above. I was completely ready with my iPhone 5S to capture the beautiful sight seeings that I would never forget.

IMG_0527Window of happiness

IMG_0529

IMG_0541

Not far from Fort Amsterdam, there is another historic site of Immanuel Kerk (Immanuel Church). The church was built in 1780 and it was known as one of the oldest protestant church in Ambon. The church was nearly burnt down during Ambon’s 1999 civil war, but now they had recovered the church and rebuilt it almost in the exact copy of the original church.

IMG_0542

IMG_0555

IMG_0556

After a short stop at the church, Pak Parjan and Pak Ismet drove us to Wapauwe mosque which is known as the oldest mosque in Ambon. The mosque was built in 1414 and still firmly standing until now. The exterior look is somewhat attractive and rustic, combined with the sophisticated interior that is filled with teakwood, which is still used these days.

IMG_0558

The mosque is located near a green yard where the cow shepherds feed their cows. The view getting even more interesting to me as I rarely see any green yard with a clear blue sky in Jakarta.

IMG_0557

IMG_0560

IMG_0569Captured on our way to Pasir Panjang beach

Pasir Panjang Beach

To all of you who followed my Instagram or Path, you might’ve seen my post which mentioned about a private beach that I wouldn’t tell you, and you might wonder where that white sand beach was located. It’s called Pasir Panjang Beach!

After visiting historical places, we decided to chill out for a bit on the beach. We asked Hafni and Pak Ismet to find a good beach for us to hang out, if possible the quiet one. They were discussing to which suitable place for us, and we ended up at Pasir Panjang Beach. Firstly we were not sure to where they brought us since the direction was nearly the same that brought us to Liang beach the previous day. “The beach has the same shoreline of Liang Beach, only this beach is much farther,” Ismet said. The car stopped at the curb of a small road, and Ismet told us just to follow Hafni who guided us to the beach. The beach location is similar to Padang – Padang beach in Bali whereby the visitors had to walk down a few steps to reach the sandy area.

IMG_0581

According to what Hafni and Pak Ismet told us, the beach was unoccupied and we were just too excited for this. Despite 11 am, but the sun was high and glaring bright, we got ready with our sunscreen, towels and sun glasses. Pasir Panjang is situated in Tial village where many fishermen live. Here you can spot their vessels, nets and if you’re lucky – their catches. You may smell fresh Tuna fish from here, and you can buy the fish with a very good deal directly from them!

IMG_0582

IMG_0585

IMG_0583

IMG_0592

We enjoyed this beach so much until we’re not knowing that we’re competely tanned but we didn’t care because swimming here felt so good!

IMG_0641

Where else could we enjoy the calm waves, quiet environment, soft sands, and great breeze, this is such a sanctuary for us.

Pasir Panjang doesn’t have public bathroom neither there has any change room, therefore whenever you come here – make sure you bring your towels, wet shirt bags, spare shirts and shorts unless you want to stay longer drying your swim suit under the sun.

IMG_0649

Before we left the beach, I asked Hafni to walk with me to visit the fishermen village. I wanted to see their homes and hoping to see one of the Tuna’s heads. We walked slowly passing each home and greeted each home owner that I met. They smiled and said “Hello!” I felt welcomed here. Some of the home owner offered me her outdoor bathroom to rinse my feet and sandals which were covered by sands.

IMG_0651

IMG_0653

IMG_0654

At the next door of the house, I heard there was a Tuna transaction – which I believed from the morning’s catch. I stopped by and asked how big the Tuna was, and to me it was really big. Around 9-10 kgs or so.

IMG_0655

“Oh this fish is considered small compared to what we usually get on the sea,” an Ambonese lady said.

I approached my head near the bucket, attempted to look the Tuna closer. Fishy smell.

“How much is the whole fish?” I asked, pinching the Tuna’s belly – it was indeed chubby.

“This one is Rp. 100.000,” she said.

The moment I thought I had misheard the price, and I reassured “Really? That can’t be true?”

The lady thought I attempted to bargain. “It’s fixed price Pak

“No, what I meant was Rp. 100.000,- is pretty cheap for this size,”

The lady smiled, “Do you want to bring this with you to Jakarta?”

I told her that I would have another two nights in Ambon, yet we would’ve gone out of the island the following day. The wise way is to buy one night before my leaving or on the same day of my departure back to Jakarta as I’d prefer to have fresh fish.

IMG_0656

I asked her permission to hold and lift the whole Tuna, as I would love to take picture with the fish. My mind had flown to Jakarta where I could buy a plate of Tuna sashimi from Sushi-tei.

IMG_0659

Hafni had instructed me to walk a bit faster to the car as we still had so many things to see and visit. I started to feel uncomfortable with the wet swim shorts that I still wore behind my short pants so did my friends, so we decided to return to the hotel for a while to take short bath (another short baths – so much a real adventurer isn’t it? haha) I noticed that Hafni and Pak Ismet were totally amazed with how we kept our hygiene.

IMG_0674

The clock had shown 13.00 PM, means we were one hour late for lunch. We definitely got ready again to Ambon city to have lunch. “It’s Sunday and hopefully there are some places open,” Hafni said.

“I think we should go and try the fish place that my cousin mentioned earlier,” one of my travel mates said. We all agreed to wherever we should eat, as it was too late and our tummies couldn’t compromise. We initially wanted to eat at that famous grilled seafood restaurants suggested, however the place was closed and Pak Ismet took us to another restaurant called Dede’s. The place looks decent, and fully air-conditioned. Before we sat down at our table they asked us to choose the fish from the cool box at the kitchen. We picked three kind of fish: Silver Pomfret (Bawal), Spotted Rabbitfish (Baronang), and Groper fish (Kerapu), Prawns, and Squids, all items were grilled and cooked spicy.

IMG_0669

IMG_0670

‘No Kangkung, No Sayur Asem’

When we’re choosing what vegetables to go along with the main course, one of a friend mine were craving about Kangkung. As we all know that Kangkung was supposed to be best companion for any seafood dishes, and it was available on the menu. However, with full regret, the waitress had to apologise that Kangkung was not available at that time, neither was Sayur Asem.

We were completely confused how could both side dishes not available. Hafni told us, “No, you better not expect Sayur Asem here because it’s a rare dish.” That another learning point for us. I asked the waiter, to keep it short, “Can you just bring us whatever vegetables is available?”

“Capcay, Mas

“Okay, one serve please.” I said without hesitation.

The foods arrived not long after we order. A quiet fast service I must admit, and the taste was also pretty good for a seafood resto. We enjoyed every bite, and yet the fish tasted very nice, soft meats and crunchy skin. The bill was not as suprising as I’d thought, we paid IDR 275.000 for the whole meal and beverages for 5 pax. Quiet cheap I must say.

After having happy tummy, we headed straight to Petak 10 souvenir shop. This shop is the best souvenir shop in town that sells not only sago crackers or cookies, but next door is a souvenir shop that sells Pearl accessories (salt water and fresh water), print tshirts, caps, bracelets, and local tenun fabrics.

Tips when shopping in Ambon: Here (not just at this shop) you cannot bargain any price, as most of the sellers will claim it as a fixed price. It is hard to bargain with the local people, yet many Ambonese are well educated and they understand every tourist especially from Jakarta.

IMG_0673I bought a sea water pearl pendant for my mother with silver-coated stainless.

 

Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery (Australian War Cemetery)

Once we’re done with shopping, Pak Ismet drove us back to the hotel as we need to get early for dinner. However, I told him would it be possible for us to stop at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery on our way back home. Hafni said it was possible and we needed to get permission from the cemetery keeper.

IMG_0676

IMG_0678

I browsed little information about this cemetery before my departure to Ambon, and I thought this cemetery is a worth seeing place. The cemetery is located 5 kms northeast Ambon on the main road to Galala district, the cemetery was designed by Ralph Hobday.

IMG_0682

IMG_0681

There are around 2.000 died soldiers (whereby nearly half were Australians, while the remaining numbers consisted of British soldiers, American Air Man, Dutch soldiers laid down in this cemetery, many of those buried here died in the defense of Ambonia in the early months of the war against Japan and others were killed in the Allied assault on Japanese air bases established on Ambonia and Sulawesi.

IMG_0697Green grass. Green, green grass

IMG_0689Nice weather!

IMG_0717

“The cemetery contains Australian soldiers who died during the Japanese invasion of Ambon and Timor, plus those who died in captivity in one of the many camps constructed by the Japanese on the Moluccas Islands, including many British prisoners who were transferred from Java to the islands in April 1943. Soon after the war, the remains of prisoners of war from Haruku island and other camps on the island were removed to Ambon and in 1961, at the request of the Indonesian Government, the remains of 503 graves in Makassar War Cemetery on the island of Celebes were added to the cemetery.”  ( Source: CWGC.org)

IMG_0714

IMG_0701Their Name Liveth For Ever More

The afternoon sun was still delighting when we arrived at the cemetery. We’re still able to spot the sunlight broke between the trees, creating beautiful shadows. This cemetery’s atmosphere brought us to Melbourne or Perth. It’s very beautiful indeed, the scenic view also reminded me to the famous American serial in 2000s “Six Feet Under”. You can also sit anywhere under the trees and search for inspirations.

IMG_0708

IMG_0711

IMG_0723

IMG_0719

IMG_0725

IMG_0727

We kept taking pictures, and wandered around the cemetery until sunset. We could see the names of the dead soldiers who were buried here, as well as reading the history plaque about this cemetery at the commemoration hall.  After satisfied with hundred beautiful pictures, the time shown nearly 17.00 hrs and we had to end our visit. We returned to the hotel before dark to get enough rest as we had to wake up early to catch morning boat to Saparua the following day.

Please stay tune for Part 2: Only 19 hours in Saparua Island.

To be continued.. 

Standard
Aviation, My Life, Travel

Flight Experience: Paris – Amsterdam KL 1224

Flight Detail:

Airline: KLM – Royal Dutch Airline
Date: 22 December 2012
Route: Paris – Amsterdam
STD: 0900 hrs (UTC +1)
ATD: 0900 hrs (UTC +1)
STA: 1020 hrs (UTC +1)
ATA: 1010 hrs (UTC +1)
Traveling Class: Business Class
Seat No: 6E move to 4F

Hello again people! This time I am back with another trip report from my last journey from Paris to Amsterdam using KLM – the flying dutchmen! 🙂

After spending 3 days and 2 nights in Paris, finally we flew back to Amsterdam for another 3 days and 2 nights visit before we’re heading to Rome for Christmas eve. As usual, we were flying standby then – listed on the first flight at 0900 hrs.

We left our hotel which situated in the Austerlitz area (near Notre Damme cathedral) at 0700 hrs using Metro train to Gare Du Nord and connecting with RER train direct to Charles De Gaulle. I was lucky to get a reservation at Hotel Libertel Austerlitz near Jardin Des Plantes as it is located right in front of the Gare De Austerlitz station, which made our travel got very convenient (The hotel is very well recommended guys!).

20121222_060124

We came on the first train to Gare Du Nord at 0700 hrs in the morning, still dark, and not only a few people waited at the train station just like us. Unfortunately, staying in Paris for 3 days had successfully made me a bit paranoid of losing valuable items and I was actually a bit nervous for taking the first train early morning and might meet any criminal act that might happen to us, as Paris is notoriously known for that.

20121222_064132

20121222_064356

20121222_064611

Luckily, we had a safe trip back to airport and we felt much safer. The situation of CDG airport that morning was a bit rushy!  It was weekend, and everyone was set for their Christmas holiday.Looking at the very long Air France – KLM General Check – in counter queue line, made me a bit hopeless actually – but at least by asking the ground staff  should there were any special desk for standby passengers would be helpful for us not waiting too long, and voila! they had it. The lady who stood by the near standby counter found us with standby tickets and she opened the strap for us as saying: “You can proceed from here.”

20121222_065437

We’re greeted by a friendly french lady at the standby check in counter. She handed our tickets and she reconfirmed if we’re standby passengers. “Are you flying out to Amsterdam this morning?” – “Yes, we are, and we have been listed before”

The lady attempted to the find our standby confirmation, took a bit long and she smiled when she found our confirmation. “Okay, I’ve found you already, let me check if we can confirm your seats from here..” I prayed inside that we could get the seat from this counter, but seems like procedure had to be followed, she said that we could get the boarding pass from here, and but our fixed boarding pass with seat number would be confirmed later at the Gate after boarding process started. We were asked to report to Gate 25A and we’d find her AF colleagues who would give us our confirmed boarding pass. However, our luggage could be check-in in advance and she labeled our luggage with “Standby luggage”. Before we left she said “Good luck and Happy Christmas”.

20121222_074247

20121222_070419

We strolled around the airport for more than an hour, killing time with duty free shopping. One thing that I like from CDG is the various branded fashion stores that could be so pleasant to our eyes.

20121222_074810

20121222_074817

We didn’t notice that our boarding gate was at Gate 34, as I thought we boarded through gate 25. My parents were just sitting around at Gate 25, but I became suspicious when it was supposed to be near boarding time, the agents were not there. I came back to the standby counter below the 25A counter, and the counter was empty, I walked upstairs again and asked the lady at the 25A counter if she could get us on the flight to Amsterdam or not. She said “Oh sir, you are just in time. The flight is boarding now, and the system is nearly closed. Here are you boarding passes, 3 pax, and the boarding gate is at Gate 34,” the lady said.

20121222_083224

Hearing this lady, made me more nervous than ever. As soon as I got our boarding pass, I used my last second saying thank you and adore how great the Air France stewardess and ground staff uniforms were. I ran to my parents and told them we were totally waiting at the wrong gate and we were late for boarding. Another dramatic situation, my parents were jumping off their chairs immediately and we ran real quick to Gate 34. It looked like we were not too late, as we were among the last 8 passengers to board the plane.

Boarding


20121222_083231

Today we’re flying with Boeing 737-700! I was really excited for my first time flight on this Boeing 737-800NG’s younger sister. We were greeted by a warm and friendly purser and flight attendant at the front door, she led me to our seats. KLM’s business class and most of European carriers are configured 3 – 3 just like in economy, but what made it different is the middle chair is reserved for our personal comfort. Do not expect the business class is as comfortable as in Garuda’s business class with personal TV and footrest, but on KLM’s service, the difference between economy and business class for regional flights were just on the meal service.

20121222_083700

20121222_084632

Seat No.6 was apparently making me a bit uncomfortable as it has no window. After door closed the cabin crew told us, there were some empty seats in front, and we were allowed to change seats. I was the first to stand up and changed my seat to a window seat in row 4. I noticed there was a KLM’s captain traveling with his family and I moved to a seat where his little daughter sat.

20121222_084512

20121222_090130

20121222_090432

The plane pushed back on time at 0900 hrs, and in less than 10 minutes we took off in a windy weather and climbed up to 27,000 feet.

In-flight Service

20121222_091923

20121222_091607

20121222_092439

20121222_092446

Shortly after flight, the fasten seatbelt sign had been switched off. It was time for breakfast service! The cabin crew began to visit each passenger with their trolley offering with what some to drink and giving us the meal package which was specially designed by a famous European designer for KLM.

20121222_092928

“This is your meal, Sir.” – the flight purser said.

“Dank u wel” I said, receiving the meal package in a great enthusiasm. “The cover looks cool!” I added.

She smiled and saying “You will be much happier once you know what’s inside this breakfast box,” – “Oh not to forget which bread you want to have with your meal?” she said offering a basket of bread.

20121222_092535

It turned out yes! I was surprised with the meal service, there were salads, yogurts, and cold cuts with cheese.

“Wat wil je drinken?” she asked in dutch

“Ik wil water en sap alstublief,” I replied in a very limited dutch.

20121222_092528

20121222_093249

She smiled, “Oh good one!” Looks like the little lady who sat next to me were smiling to hear me speaking dutch – in a very limited way. But she kept busy with her iPod afterwards singing some songs with pulling some hand acts attempting to dance. Looks like she had fun. I wanted to say hello to her, but well she’s too young for me.

20121222_094639

20121222_094133

I looked out at the window, while Captain returned with announcement that the plane would begin to descend. He also reported the weather forecast in Amsterdam that mostly cloudy that time. However, above Belgium, the sun began to rise as the orange part appeared from behind the white thick clouds, “It should be a great start today,” I said.

20121222_094532

In 10 minutes after Captain announcement over, the plane started its descend and we made our final approach to Schipol.

20121222_095838

20121222_095859

20121222_100243

Arrival

On 1010 hrs, the plane touched down smoothly at Schipol Airport. The landing, I must admit was another smooth landing I experienced despite weather condition. After landing the purser greeted us with an announcement “Welkom bij Amsterdam..” she indicated that the taxi would take some 10 minutes to reach gate 13 where our plane would be parked. Schipol is literally a huge airport.

20121222_100403

20121222_100718

20121222_101003

20121222_101040

Our aircraft then finally parked at Gate 13, “Cabin crew, when ready, the door maybe opened,” The door was opened and we disembarked the plane accordingly.

Summary

20121222_101502

Overall, my last trip on Paris – Amsterdam sector was very good and enjoyable. The cabin is clean, comfy seats, and the foods were really good for a short flight, and not to mention the professionalism, hospitality and friendliness of KLM’s flight and cabin crew makes us feel more comfortable during our flight back to Amsterdam. No wonder that KLM’s crew was previously awarded as the best airline staff in Europe.

Thank you, Mr. Flying Dutchman! keep flying high!

Standard
Aviation, My Life, Travel

Flight Experience: Amsterdam – Paris KL 1233 20 December 2012

20121220_145144

Flight details:
Carrier: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Flight No: KL 1233
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-800NG
Route: AMS – CDG
Load Factor: 100% Full
STD: 1230 hrs (UTC +1)
ATD: 1235 hrs (UTC +1)
STA: 1345 hrs (UTC +1)
ATA: 1335 hrs (UTC +1)

Goede Morgen! Wilkommen bij Amsterdam.
Alstublief!

After finishing a 16 hour flight journey from Jakarta using Garuda Indonesia, finally we arrived at Schipol Airport ontime at 0720 am. I was really excited to hit Schipol Plaza before our next flight to Paris at 1230 pm on the same day.

Schipol Airport is one of the largest airport in Europe, dubbed as the main hub in European continent. With its landmark tower, we can see where Schipol located from the distance. It was a cold morning, 3 degrees celcius, and I started to feel the cold after disembarking the aircraft. Prior to that we said good bye to the active crew that brought us from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam.

Our aircraft parked at gate G8, well it’s not quiet far from the immigration compared to the gate D since we have to complete immigration check first and taking our luggage at the baggage claim. I was bleary eyed still, and very exhausted due to lack of sleep the other night, yet, I had to face with the first issue of the morning was a argumentation between my father and one immigration officer at the passport control. Thank god it cleared through and we’re admitted to pass the line.

20121220_141455

20121220_165208

The day was still long. Of course it was 0720 am and the sun hasn’t risen yet. Somehow the last argumentation with passport control officer was total madness, anyway, I had forgotten it quick, because we had more things to do such as listing our ticket at KLM check in counter for our next flight to Paris using KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL 1233) at 1230 hrs. It looks like 5 hours more to go, but the quicker the better, knowing that we flew as standby passengers.

20121220_165925

20121220_170211

20121220_165310

The situation of Schipol Airport that time was totally crowded. Apparently, there are so many check in counters available but still could not avoid the long queue up at the counters. Looks like everyone began to fly out for the holidays.

After checking-in our luggage and getting our boarding pass the officer told us to wait at the gate as we would receive final confirmation at the gate at 1200 hrs. Since it was still long time to kill, we decided to wander around the Schipol plaza and hang out for a bit.

20121220_161730

20121220_154500

20121220_145516

Schipol Airport has a shopping plaza which actually made every transit passenger feel convenient to find their needs for upcoming travel, not to mention the handy souvenirs shops and restaurants that were available almost at every corner. Some shops that I visited were KLM fly shop where the notable engine wheels and the front section of Fokker 28 mock-up installed, Fresh Village Supermarket, H&M, and some other fashion stores.

20121220_163005

20121220_163153

The shopping time made time flew fast. At 1100 hrs we directly headed to enter the Gate areas C7 and we had to report to the ground staff near the boarding gate. They told us that we would get confirmation at 1200 hrs, okay then, it’s better to keep nothing to lose. During the wait I had a chance to chat a bit with the flight purser, the crew members were waiting until the plane was ready to board. The flight purser told me that the flight was a full flight and let see if we could get transported to Paris 🙂 I said “Don’t worry, we’re used to this.”

20121220_171846

20121220_171826

20121220_174412

20121220_174426

Finally at 1200 hrs, when the boarding call began, we received our boarding pass. The three of us could get transported. We thankful for that. When we boarded the plane, we were greeted by the flight purser, and a senior flight attendant. They were all friendly. I think Dutch people are naturally chatty and friendly. During boarding process, I’ve notice the huge difference between air passengers behavior in Indonesia and the Netherlands. In Indonesia, air passengers tend to bring many cabin luggage and they are not concerned towards other people in placing their hand luggage. Meanwhile, in Holland, looks like everyone is more concerned about others space for luggage hence the last passengers to board the plane shan’t be worried of running out of space for their hand luggage.

20121220_181234

20121220_181511

20121220_181934

20121220_181924

Once everyone boarded the plane, the door closed and the plane pushed back on-time. Since we’re flying Boeing 737-800 without IFE therefore the safety demonstration should be conducted manually. This is what I like about KLM, the pilots and flight attendants do their job very professionally, their appearance somehow makes me feel safe enough to fly with them. The flight attendants are also polite, we know that it’s their job to ensure passenger safety, and they might give order to passengers to keep their luggage down, or keep the window opened or re-adjust their backrest into upright position. All flight attendants in our flight were very polite in requesting their passengers to follow the rules. It’s a plus point for KLM.

20121220_182542

20121220_183525

20121220_183504

20121220_182703

The plane taxied out short to the active runway (which I can’t remember), and we took off shortly we lined up on the runway. The wind looked a bit extreme during our take-off, I could feel as the plane rolled on the runway it looked like the yaw was fighting against the crosswind. The pilot maintained the plane in a straight direction and lifted up we were to the sky! As what captain informed earlier that the plane will arrive in earlier than the schedule, and the plane would be cruising on 24,000 feet above the sea level.

20121220_190559

The weather was cloudy, all I could see from the window was white clouds, that’s why I decided to have a short nap during the flight, oh the flight was a bit bumpy too, but we could handle it. The meal service began shortly after the seatbelt sign was switched off. Knowing that it was a short flight the flight attendant immediately started with the savory treats distribution and drinks selection. Well, the meals given in the economy is quiet simple for a 50 minutes flight, but the snack was pretty tasty, and the flight attendants were very friendly.

20 minutes before landing, the captain had instructed the cabin crew to prepare for descent which meant the flight attendant had to ensure there was no waste left behind or any glass with them. Thick clouds faced us during the descent and we had a little tail wind as well that contributed to the aircraft’s velocity faster.

20121220_193938

20121220_193959

Paris was raining that time, and foggy. I could barely see anything until we’re on final approach and in the minimum altitude. At 1335 hrs we touched down smoothly at Charles de Gaulle. Oh my god, I think the landing was really smooth! It was actually one of my smoothest landing experience with Boeing 737-800 in a weather condition. Good job, Capt!. My dad also adored the smoothness of the landing – as we sat near the main wheel hence we could feel if the landing was a smooth one or not.

20121220_194500

20121220_194541

After landed, the plane was taxiing out to the gate. The rain seemed to become a bit concern for a tourist who wish for a direct sightseeing in Paris at that time, but hopefully we could manage that. It was a huge airport complex to be honest. We had to get across of the next runway and then passing by two Air France terminals then we reached our gate.

“Cabin crew disarm slide bars thank you” the captain informed the cabin attendant before completely stop at the gate, and after, “Cabin crew, when ready the door maybe opened”. As someone who grows up among people who work as Aircrews, I sometimes had a natural response by murmuring the response “Slide bars disarmed and ready to open Capt” hahaha.

20121220_195652

20121220_195820

20121220_195918

Overall, it was my first trip with KLM and I had a totally memorable flight. The safety was perfect, the hospitality, and the convenience. As a person who grown up in a Aviation industry for three generation, my Grandpa used to tell me that KLM pilots were ones of the best pilots in the world. It looks like nothing beats the Flying Dutchman 😉

In the evening I also took a flight with Roule De Paris to take a great night view of Paris city…

20121220_183912

20121220_184748

Thank you for reading, Terima Kasih!

Standard
Aviation, My Life, Travel

Carrier: Garuda Indonesia
Flight No. : GA 088
Aircraft Type: Airbus A330-200
Registration: PK – GPN
Load Factor: 85%
Cruising Altitude: 40,000 feet
STD: 1935 hrs (UTC+7)
STA: 0720 hrs (UTC+1)

Hello all my faithful readers. Before we get started let me say Merry belated Christmas to all of you who celebrate it. I just returned from my 10 days trip to Europe with a mission to celebrate Christmas eve mass in the St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican.

This trip was special because I had had another chance to travel again with my family, although my brother could not *again* join this trip due to his unavailability for flight simulator training. My dad thankfully was on leave hence he could make the trip.

We departed on 19 December 2012 evening. As usual we’re dropped off at Terminal 2 E and we arrived 15 minutes before boarding. I thought it was pretty rushing out there, but the check-in counter load was light and the line was okay for us.

After receiving the boarding pass, we headed directly to the immigration line. This one was a troublesome. We were stuck in the immigration line for nearly 30 hours when our flight was notified as the final call. We were a bit nervous, my dad attempted to pass through the crew line, knowing that we were so rushing for the flight, but minutes after he asked the immigration officer to open the line for us, it was too late since a group of crew member from Turkish Airlines had arrived and waiting behind us.

20121219_192410

Soekarno – Hatta International Airport, as the biggest airport in Indonesia and the international gateway should have add more immigration desks!

It took another 15 minutes for us to finally clear the line, another thank god was knowing the plane was parked at gate E1, close enough. And we were a few last passengers to board the plane.

Boarding process was smooth well as likely it always smooth for a wide body aircraft. We were greeted by a friendly flight attendant, and the purser whom I flew with from Beijing to Jakarta 2 years ago. My dad and mom were sitting at seat number 5 middle row and I sat at the next row 5 C. However, it was a surprise to meet one of a good friend of mine and a child of my mom’s friend who was also a member at Indoflyer. Reyhan sat at seat number 6 A. A pleasant surprise yes, and I made a bit dramatic Hello to him, and I jumped to the next seat after him as it was empty.

20121219_202810

20121219_200012

Boarding process was not complete yet, the few last business class passengers who boarded the plane including my Dad’s relatives and his family who were flying to Amsterdam too, and another guy next to me in row 6 middle was a junior pilot who was on vacation alone too. So ya, it was like another reunion flight and we were so excited.

As you all know this flight to Amsterdam will not stop over in Dubai but in Abu Dhabi. The flight time for the first leg will be 7 hour 50 minutes. The captain had informed us that we’re facing the head winds and strong turbulence was frequently expected.

20121219_193637

“Cabin crew set doors to automatic and cross check”. The door has been closed and the plane was ready to push back. The flight load that evening was not full there were some seats left in C class and Y class – as I heard there were only 100 passengers in the Y class. Anyway, the welcome drink was offered to us. Martebe, orange juice, apple juice. Champagne and wines were available only you had to order and they will bring them to you. In addition, the cabin crew also wandered around the cabin asking passengers about the meal they’re about to eat later. My choice was simple, without reading through the menu I said, “I’ll just have rijstafel”. The cabin crew smiled at me as if saying “Wow you’re quick”.

I chose the sparkling champagne for the start, as I was really excited upon my upcoming trip, and I had a chat mate all the way to Amsterdam. We pushed back on-time at 1935 hrs and we took off around 20 minutes after. The take off was smooth, and the plane directly turned left as we’re flying across west coast Java and banked right across the south west coast of Sumatera then headed to South East India, and direct to Abu Dhabi. What captain said was proven when the plane was hitting thick cloud and we felt like in a roller coaster during the climb, but once the plane reached the safe altitude it was calm, and long dinner was served!

20121219_203017

20121219_210821

20121219_212737

20121219_213237

We anticipated, well, I did anticipate dinner to be served as soon as possible. I always hated it when I forgot to eat before flight because somehow my gastric worked faster up in the air. When the trolley appeared I felt quiet relieve. I set my table alone, and welcomed the presence of a middle aged lady who still looks young and professional – I think she was at the same batch as my aunt. The stewardess started conversation with us, she’s chatty, regardless the fact if the conversation was made due to there was a pilot next to me or she knew that my friend, I and all of us at the back are passengers with code – but I simply notice that she’s a friendly lady.

20121219_205230

20121219_220735

As starter, we had a soto bandung. I laughed when I received it because this meal was just exactly what I had before at home as lunch. She replied “Oh maybe the catering truck came to your home first before loading them to this aircraft,” we laughed to hear her saying that. The pilot next to me ordered a red wine, it turned out one of the red wine available was the one at his home too. “Oh okay, that’s another coincidence, maybe the catering truck went to your home first and then to his and came to the airport.” What a friendly convo.

20121219_213828

20121219_221148

20121219_221331

The rijstafel meals were absolutely tempting! I can’t imagine what if I had left my home country or hometown for million years and I came back to find these foods. The steam rice and the full selection of tasty sidedish that we usually make at home are too good to be true.

20121219_222710

20121219_221506

20121219_222633

After dinner time finished, the cabin crew began dimming the lights for passengers who wished a pleasant sleep. I was still in the middle of conversation with my seat next row, chatting for 2 hours or so and finally tried to sleep. The weather seemed to be more extreme when we flew above India. The captain ordered flight attendant to take their seats as they were climbing 2,000 feet more to avoid thunderstorm clouds. The turbulence were very strong and I could feel as if I were in a roller coaster ride, only I was on a 180 degrees full flat bed.

20121220_040451

The cabin lights turned on again 30 minutes prior arrival. The map showed that we are getting closer to Abu Dhabi International Airport. The aircraft had started their descent as well. I could notice that we’re entering the city as city lights began to appear.

The plane touched down on time at 0105 hrs LT (UTC+4). The landing was smooth, and the plane headed directly to the gate. “Bapak dan Ibu yang terhormat Selamat datang di Abu Dhabi silakhan tetap duduk sampai lampu tanda kenakan sabuk pengaman di padamkan dan pesawat berhenti dengan sempurna…” the flight announcement also informed that there would be a new set of crew member that would serve us to Amsterdam, and the plane would transit in Abu Dhabi for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Before disembarking we said good bye to all crew members, saying thank you. When we reached the gate, we saw the new crew members had been waiting, my dad physically waved hands to greet them while I was just walking in a chill mode and we headed downstairs for some window shopping.

20121220_044745

20121220_044801

20121220_045910

Abu Dhabi airport is somehow not a place for you to shop. The airport is too small and there was nothing much to see about. The price even is not that cheap as has been dubbed so long.

20121220_052513

20121220_052653

20121220_060004

After transiting for nearly 2 hours, we boarded the plane again. Strict security apparently troubled me for some reason at the gate, and I was nearly lost my camera. We boarded back with a new crew member that mostly I hadn’t seen before. Most of the cabin crew that served us in the Business Class cabin were mostly a bit older and professional, however, we were lucky that some of the ‘newbie’ joined the serving session that evening. Since the flight departed at 1 o’clock am in the evening, means there was no heavy meal distribution, only light snack and cakes. I was terribly craving for Pop mie, and Garuda has been very understanding to meet the savory standard for Indonesian passengers, which is: Pop Mie.

20121220_060742

20121220_055651

20121220_090800

20121220_091828

As a person who don’t rely on in-flight entertainment so much, I literally only slept for roughly 4 hours during the total journey, even on our flight to Amsterdam I didn’t sleep much. But only spent time playing with my Galaxy Note and I spent some times watching my favorite show – “Just for Laughs”. Actually Just for Laughs is quiet entertaining when you were in need of laughs.

20121220_110850

Two and half hours prior landing we were awakened by purser announcement for breakfast service. One of the cabin crew told me that they had to forward the time due to weather forecast in the European airspace which might be a bit bumpy and they’re worried that serving time could not be made due to turbulence. Everyone was soon waking up and the cabin crew began to offer several options for continental breakfast. Bread, fruit, omelette, corn flakes or yoghurt. I chose corn flakes, milk and bread.

20121220_110058

20121220_112400

20121220_110220

Just after breakfast service, I was surprised by a special presence of little Santa who was standing hiding behind the curtain next to my seat. I believed he was a mixed dutch child and hiding from his mom who sat next at the back.

20121220_114204

20121220_114057

At around 0650 hrs we began our descent. There was nothing to look at outside the window since the sun wasn’t up yet. The sunshine started to appear far in the east just like flames combined with the city lights beneath us.

0720 hrs the plane touched down smoothly at Schipol international airport, and it was a long taxi since the plane was parked at gate G8.

When disembarking we thanked to the cabin crew for a great flight and wished them a pleasant stay in Amsterdam, so did they to us.

20121220_145144

20121220_141751

To conclude my trip report, I think this is was my first long haul flight more than 8 hours with Garuda after several years. The idea of making the middle east as a transit point is good knowing that passengers might need sometime to rest their back and feet every 5 hours minimum. In regards to service, I never had problem with any service related matter as the airline has a good value of service for its customers. Starting from the hospitality, the warmth, the smile and the attention they give to the passengers, the cabin crew are one of the friendliest and the sincerest cabin crew I have ever met. I had a very enjoyable flight, good meals, good sleep, and good conversation. It complete my happiness on my last trip. Thank you Garuda Indonesia! We are proud!

Flight Experience: GA 088 Jakarta – Abu Dhabi – Amsterdam

Aside
Aviation, My Life, Travel

Flight Experience: Flying Home from Denpasar – Jakarta GA 413

As the continuation of my previous trip report, here is the story of my returning flight from Denpasar on 14 August 2012.

Finally, after having a super pleasant stay for 4 days in Bali, it’s time to head home. Back in Jakarta, the Idul Fitri homebound travelers geared up for their destinations, and Denpasar airport appeared to be packed by visitors.

Potato Head

Ginger Ale and Black Russian

Our flight was scheduled at 1900 hrs LT (UTC+8) evening and since 1600 hrs we had settled and chilled out at one the edgiest place to hang out in Bali – Potato Head in Seminyak. We had planned on spending our last hours in this place, sipping some refreshments and relaxing near by the pool. However, it seemed like we arrived too late, since tourists had taken all the best lazy chairs near by the pool, hence the only place left we sat was in the right wing. Before heading to the airport, I changed my outfit for a more proper look: Jacket, jeans and my suede shoes!

I might have become one big strange sight in there, from thin t-shirts, short pants and sneakers, while in the next one hour, voilla, I dressed completely different which was too neat for a beach outfit. My friend asked me if I were serious enough with that jacket? I said yes, it could’ve been cold on the plane.

At 1730 hrs, we arrived at the Airport, and we checked in ourselves. One of my friends flew with Citilink to Jakarta, and my 2 other friends and her families also flew with me on Garuda. Unlike my departure flight, the officer checked me in easily, without any further bargain on other schedules (this mostly happens for a concession ticket holder). I always feel calmer when a check-in officer had validated my ticket and requesting to present my ID, and asking if there would be any checked-in luggage. The process was fast, the warm smile lady handed me my boarding pass, “Have a nice flight Mas Danang..” she said “Thank you!” I said.

Domestic Terminal’s FIDS

The departure hall wasn’t that hectic before I realized that the queue line for passengers’ x-ray was long. But we made it through a bit quick though. It’s not that long after we arrived, the boarding call was made and passengers began to assemble at the boarding gate which made the officer felt a bit overwhelmed. They divided the lines into 3 lanes, 1 for business class and 2 for economy class passengers. As usual, we were driven to the plane using passengers bus, and our plane was parked in Gate 2 of the International terminal.

The boarding was smooth, boarding for wide body aircraft is always smooth, that’s why I always try to board the plane first when flying with narrow body aircraft, not just because there won’t be any queue line, but we can get extra space for our luggage. A young lady greeted me with her winning smile, I was let in and guided to my seat at 7A until I met someone who had sat earlier at his 6B seat, he was a pilot friend of mine who had just flown from Osaka – Denpasar flight , and he flew as an extra crew for Denpasar – Jakarta flight. I made a bit surprising moment, that made every crew who served in the business class smiled at me. Well, it’s one of our family closest relatives, and we chatted for a bit as passengers boarded the plane.

The flight that night was using an aircraft that just came on from Osaka, while the crew members were arriving from Sydney, and most interestingly, the plane was brought by a captain and a co-pilot who was on a check ride. “Well, I might not look forward for a smooth landing then,” I giggled. My friend was smiling and he’s like “Yea, told him too. Usually we get nervous during the check-ride,” he said.

After boarding process completed, the crew began serving us with a welcome drink. I still remained in the row 6 middle seat, chatting with my friend until I was instructed to return to my seat, or else I changed my seat to 6F. “No, I’m fine, I’ll move back to my seat,” I said, noticing that my friend was exhausted and so was I. The flight was full in Economy and half full in Business Class, as my friend said that GA 411 was not operating hence the passengers were unified on the GA 413.

Legroom!

My private cabin

I fell asleep during taxi and  I was awakened by the roaring engines during the line up, and the cabin lights had been switched off. I let my camera captured some sights around, but didn’t make any good results due to darkness. At 1910 hrs LT the plane took off smoothly, and here we off to Jakarta!

After seat-belt sign switched off, my friend was aiming to make a short visit to the cockpit, asking if I might’ve been interested to join. I said no this time because I knew that there was a checked pilot that time and the situation might not allowing any stranger who wished for a visit :p, besides I was really exhausted and I think I just wanted to rest. The crew started the meal service after 20 minutes. My friend had returned to his seat and he said he would have a sleep, but too late as the meal cart has arrived earlier. I was greeted by another senior flight attendant who waved her hands, as she recognized me. “Hey, you are the son of Capt. xxx aren’t you? Don’t you recognize me?” I attempted to recall whether I had met her before or not. “We’re neighbors! we live like 5 blocks away,” she said cheerfully. Oh well, apparently I knew her, I was distracted because I always seen her in long hair, unlike then when she had to bun her hair in her uniform. But still – I felt bad, I should’ve remembered her name!

The IFE begins..

The food was with no choice at all. Oh well what should I expect? Sitting at a special area of row 5 or 6 means our meal choices always be the last option available (hahaha!). A rice, chicken with veggies. The only thing that I like from Business Class meal service is that we could have more than 2 breads to complete our main course! The food was delicious, although I thought the chicken was with no taste or less salt at first, but I was wrong, the steamed chicken was tasteful, wish I could have another plate, but nu-uh, the cart had been empty.

My dinner was accompanied by several feature videos that I watched. Frankly speaking, In flight entertainment is not necessarily important to me, as I am more like a chatty passenger. Chatting with my seat mates, or flight attendants is an exceptional entertainment for myself. Otherwise I usually just listen to my music player and sleep.

Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-300 Business Class seat is very comfortable I must say. Plus, the quietness of my cabin section was a plus point! I always like to sit in the second section  – which contained of seat No. 5 and 6. The cabin is usually quiet, unlike the front section which usually has more passengers. Ironic right? if airlines usually expect high load factor, but a weird passenger like me like an empty plane rather than a fully booked flight hehe..

The flight took for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We touched down safely at Soekarno – Hatta International Airport.
The landing felt a bit rough though, but I understood that the landing must’ve been made by the checked first officer. Could he be nervous there with the instructor? 😀 The plane stopped at the terminal (thank god not by the ramp), and there’s a cute moment when we’re waiting until the door open, I chatted with my pilot friend, and he asked me on “Do you know what sign to know if the door was ready to open?” I smiled and said “Flight attendant, disarm slide bars and cross check?” unconditionally, I said those words just at the same time with the captain. He laughed and so did a flight stewardess who stood near by my seat. I continued, “Slide bars disarmed, Capt..” imitating the purser who must’ve read back the instruction to the captain.

After the door opened, we said good bye, disembarked the plane, and saying ‘welcome home’ to myself.

Standard
Aviation, Friends & Hang Out, My Life, Travel, Uncategorized

Flight Experience: Jakarta – Denpasar GA 438

Hi all! I think it’s been a while since my last post, and by this opportunity I am so pleased to share you on my last air trip to Bali from 11 August to 14 August 2012.

It’s my another trip after June 2010 where I last visited the island to visit my brother who used to study in Buleleng, and I felt that this trip was special as I went with my own friends, so, no parent guidance! (HA!) and it had been too long since the last time I flew with plane.

Our trip was scheduled on 11 August 2012 at 0930 hrs along with my 2 traveling mates and one of them also bringing her mom and grandparents as well. We arrived at 0700 hrs at Terminal 2F and it looked like that people had started to fly out town to prepare for Idul Fitri holidays. The long queue line annoyed us a little bit, moreover, my traveling mood suddenly gone when I was about to check in myself at the counter, saying that I had to report at the waiting list counter. My friend was confused why I was directed to the counter – despite my concession ticket was confirmed. The officer told me that I could get on my actual flight, however, he asked for my understanding that the flight was overbooked and he offered me a seat on the early flight which had begun boarding that time.

“Are you okay if we get you on a flight to Bali immediately? Don’t worry we’ll put you on C class” he said.
I just nodded and he printed my boarding pass immediately. “Your flight will depart at 0745, and the boarding had begun. Would you run to gate F4 , they’ll drive you to the parking stand,” he said.

I was a bit overwhelmed about they finally found a solution to depart me earlier, though on the other hand I was a bit worried if I could make it on-time to the plane or not. Thank god that my friend and her family later arrived at the airport and I greeted them instantly “Great you come already! It’s nice to see you all, I am sorry I won’t be on the same flight with you, they asked me to fly on this hour’s flight,” I sounded like I made a single conversation and they were looking confused.

My friend looked a bit impressed with my dress behavior. “You wear suede loafers , Long shirt and khakis to Bali?” I only nodded and i think it did not need any explanation. I always dress up before flying. 😀

Airplane is always becoming a good object to be captured by anyone

I ran so quickly to gate F4. I was not complaining about this situation FYI, as this happened for so many times but what troubled me was that this sudden notification knowing that my ticket used to be confirmed. Oh well I shan’t sweat this stuff. Anyway, once I arrived at the Gate, they were waiting for me, and they put me on a bus, I was with 5 other standby passengers. I thought the plane was the one parked at gate F4 but they said, the plane was on the remote stand.

Boarding ran smooth. (Oh well, we were like the last 5 passengers!) the 4 other passengers were Japanese who were supposed to continue their flights to Haneda via Denpasar. I could see how relieved they were once we reached the plane. “Selamat pagi,” as usual the purser greeted me in a smile. “Hi, morning purser!” I said cheering up, and also smiling to the second flight attendant who assisted me with my seat, Oops, looks like the only 1 aisle seat left was dedicated for me. “Silakhan, Mas,” she smiled. “Thank you very much,” I replied. After saying Thank you very much, the young lady began to chat with me in English. I got another confusion, why she had to.  I was going to put my luggage on the overhead bin, but I knew that the flight attendants were busy preparing welcoming drinks, so I was looking for extra space alone, I opened the overhead bin, checked and closed, checked again and closed. No space for my cabin sized luggage. Damn. It’s not like that they would put my luggage down and last minute check-in baggage right?

The young lady returned and asking “How can I help you?”, I said “Oh I was looking some spaces for this luggage,” she sighed, it seemed like she’s giving me the oh-why-must-you-carry-luggage-on-board look. I read her face and saying “I know, I am sorry about this, can you help me?” She was smiling, Okay, don’t worry, she pulled the bin leveler above row No.3, and she took out some bundles of in-flight newspapers and blanket. She tried to put my luggage in, but didn’t fit in as there were another luggage. She grabbed the paper back in the bin, and she tried the bin above my seat. “No i tried,” she looked more confused, then she tried to take out some newspapers out again and, after some efforts, my luggage could be stored. The next few minutes, the door closed.

I looked tired, and yet I was totally wrong to wear my sweater on that sunny day, and jeans, and a pair of loafers. I hate to board the plane in a rushing mood. But thank god the flight attendants were very helpful and calming my mood. I was sitting next to an American man who just made his first visit to Indonesia. I noticed he’s on a business trip, and he was flying to Bali for his connecting flight to Perth later that day. When you fly with Garuda to Bali, don’t assume that they’re all coming to Bali, but some tourists could be on their connecting flight to Australia, Korea or Japan.

We chatted, my hobby when traveling alone is meeting new people, especially when I fly on a business class. Sometimes the benefit you’ll get is not just a more pleasant service and experience, but you’ll get to widen your network with your seating mates. But this time it wasn’t like my last flight from Timika to Denpasar  when I accidentally drop my seating mate’s apple juice glass, but we lasted introduced ourselves each other. On this flight, I helped the man fixing his table during meal service. This man whom I finally knew working for a big oil company, found difficulties to fix his table that made him a bit comfortable. The flight stewardess was also trying to help, but her hand couldn’t reach the table as the man was sitting in the window seat. I assisted the man when I noticed he needed a help, apparently the tray was lack of one screw on the tip, and I told him not to pull the tray and held the tip by the armrest.  The flight stewardess later was looking at me, she smiled and wonder how I knew it.

My seating mate was busy capturing photos of Mountains on our flight route with his iPad, I started the conversation by telling him the Mountain names of what, and he sounded excited. When our meal came, we picked the same choice, it was Nasi uduk with Rendang and anchovies. They gave us two options, fried rice or uduk rice with rendang and anchovies. The taste was delicious. I always prefer Indonesian foods to any Western foods, even I can give up steak for Nasi Liwet or Gado – Gado.

The plane landed safely and smooth after an one hour – forty minutes flight. My first impression of Bali airport now is wow! the Airport is currently under massive expansion. I just wonder where the domestic travel had gone, the plane that I came on then was scheduled to fly to Kupang via Denpasar. I was stopped at the domestic terminal, and I was amazed with how small the arrival hall due to the development, hopefully the new airport will soon complete. The domestic terminal was relatively small but not too crowded that time, and I was waiting for my friend at the baggage claim, hoping that to meet them there, apparently I remembered that the other domestic terminal near the international terminal. I walked out immediately and shocked with the crowd that I never expected before.

Two of my friends who just arrived in Bali one hour later.. Mba Mela and Sitha

With Sitha, and Joshua at Warung Made

Some of my two friends arrived finally at the regular domestic terminal and we headed to Kuta, Seminyak, and we stopped by at our private villas before heading to my favorite beach in Bali – Nusa Dua! 😀

I have no conclusion for my flight experience, but all I can say that Garuda Indonesia service is always remarkable each flight. I always get some new experiences which is different from any other flights!! 🙂

Next trip:

Jakarta – Dubai – Amsterdam – Paris – Rome ( December 2012)

Jakarta – Shanghai – Beijing – Jakarta ( March 2013)

Jakarta – Seoul – Jakarta (June 2013)

Standard