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Maria-Syamsi

From My Heart

Month

April 2017

Jakarta – A Little Note on Public Transport and Food

It was such a pleasant surprise to find that the Transjakarta Bus separates male and female passengers. We got onto the bus, the conductor told my brother to move to the rear of the bus.
The bus stops (halte) were clean and spacious. The bus lane is separated from the rest of the road users with concrete dividers. The bus is air-conditioned.
I am thankful that the friendly and informative taxi driver advised us to take the bus to Kota Tua from our hotel that day. “It will take you almost an hour if you take a cab, but only about 20 minutes if you take the bus there,” he said, and of course he was right.
The views from the bus was rather nice. From Sarinah to Kota Tua we got to see central Jakarta, through Jalan MH Thamrin, passing by Monumen Nasional, looking over some statues built along the road, area near Istana Merdeka, shop lots around Mangga Besar and Glodok, and terminate at Stasiun Jakartakota.
One needs to use a card to get onto the bus. The special thing about this card is you can share it with as many people as you want, as long as you have enough credit in it. For example, one of us needed to tap four times on the electronic gate for the four of us to get onto the halte, and tap four times again when we leave at the end of our journey. It is more sustainable that way.
From Kota Tua to Sunda Kelapa we took the bajaj. It is a three-wheeled motorcycle with seat enough for five people (two front, including the rider, and three rear seats) – well, it actually depends on the size of the passengers and whether or not you’re comfortable to huddle cosily next to the driver!
All four of us could fit into one bajaj. We did not know it was so much fun! The bajaj was fast, airy (the areas we passed were covered with trees) and could go through literally any roads. The first bajaj driver was friendly. The charge? Well, there is no metered system like the taxis, so I suppose they did overcharge us a little. They would quote the charge after we tell them where we needed to go; we only take a ride after agreeing on the cost. In the evenings the charge they quoted were even higher, we had to haggle for a better price. 
We took the bajaj several times during our stay there. The travel time from one place to another was around 15 minutes. I calculated the cost – it was similar to the air-conditioned taxis back in KL! 
The taxis, we took a non-blue/silverbird taxi from the airport to the city. They quoted IR250,000 prior to the trip, but we told them to use the meter instead, of which the driver obliged. The taxi ride ended up costing us IR175,000, which is 30% cheaper than the quoted price.
It is a repeated advice to any visitors to Jakarta to take only Bluebird or Silverbird taxis, but I guess any taxis that can agree with using meter is good enough.
We did not ride the Kopaja though. 
I would definitely plan to take Transjakarta bus as much as I can during my next trip there.

. . .
My sister was excited about all the food she was going to try in Jakarta.
Indeed, that was the first thing we did after putting our bags in the hotel!
We ate at Garuda Restaurant in Jalan H Agus Salim. It serves delicious Padang food. The restaurant was clean, and it has a super clean toilet too, complete with handwashing liquid (yay!). As with other Padang restaurants, they would put (almost) all of the dishes in front of you, but you should only take the ones you really want. You should leave the rest of the dishes untouched if you don’t want them, or else you’ll be charged for them.
Later that afternoon we had soto ayam at the same street. It was served in small bowls, containing rice and pieces of chicken in clear soup. It was complemented with a plate of deep fried chicken innards and boiled quail eggs which have been covered with some herbs and garnishes prior to boiling. 
That night for supper we had another meal consisting of rice, grilled squid, Palembang chicken, and some vegetables. 
The next day we did not eat out; breakfast was at the hotel (because we woke up a little late 😓), and then lunch at the airport. We did get to taste their nasi goreng at the hotel, and gado-gado at the airport.
I found that the portion was small, but it is good. That may be the reason Indonesians on average have better weight compared to their Malaysian or even Singaporean counterparts.

View from inside the bajaj
Food carts in front of the mosque and cathedral.
Soto ayam shop
Nasi padang with its various dishes
Sunday morning between Masjid Istiqlal and Jakarta Cathedral
Jalan H Agus Salim. There is abundance of food, even more at night.
Halte Sarinah

The Fishermen, The Parents and The Orphans

It is heart-breaking to imagine the fallen faces of those fishermen, when they realized that their boat was holed by the very people they helped. It is even more heart-breaking to imagine the pious parents, hugging the body of their son, who died on the shore of the river.

Or try to imagine the desperation of a widow, who have kids to raise. Her good husband left them some property, but she had no idea where they are. For now they could still survive, but the future is uncertain.
Only to find that…

The fishermen’s boat was the only one in the village that was not confiscated by the king; he was building an armada. Hence they became the only fishermen in the area, and earned so much from that.
The dead boy was going to grow up as a person who would misguide the parents, and the couple was pious. So after that, they had another child, who was to be good and pure.
The orphans will only find the treasures their father left when they need them the most, later on in life, as young men. If the villagers knew about the treasures while the orphans were young, they would have stolen them, and the orphans would not have anything left for themselves.
These stories are about how bad things happen for good reason.
They show that Allah gives us something much better in replacement of what He has taken away.
That if we are generous, we get so much more in return.
That if we are pious, Allah will want to keep us pious until the end. He will want us to be close to Him all the time.
That if we want pious children, we need to be pious first.
That Allah gives us what we need exactly at the time we need them.
That if we are good people, Allah will protect our family, and our treasures too; in His own way.
Let’s read surah Al Kahf every Friday, and reflect on the stories.
* * *
I would recommend watching/listening to the series of tafseer of Surah Al Kahf by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. I learnt so much from this series of lectures, it has given me more depth when I read the surah on Fridays.
This is the link to part 16 of the series:

Yasir Qadhi: Khidir Explains Events to Musa

Doa Penyuluh Kegelapan

I Left My Heart In Jakarta





Because of a Cat

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