Travel is not about places. It’s about experiencing moments.
“Mau ke mana mas?” the Indonesian guy asked me where am I heading to in the native Indonesian language as he stopped by after seeing my waving hands.
“Ke Bandung Pak.” I replied to him that I’m going to Bandung.
When I flagged him down, he thought I’m a local girl heading somewhere nearby. After listening to my way of talking, suddenly he realised that I’m not Indonesian although I look like one. From the sound, he quickly knew that I am a Malaysian.
Then he just signalled me to hope in. Yes! After close to 3 hours of waiting I finally got a ride. He talked something to me but I told him that I don’t understand at all what he was saying.
“Yes! After close to 3 hours of waiting I finally got a ride.”
“I just came back from office,” he said in English. Ah, now it’s better. We were talking in English right after that. I apologized to him for any inconvenience, and quickly told him you can drop me anywhere suitable for me to continue my journey. I told him that this is my second week in Indonesia. I am travelling alone, experiencing various food and multiple activities while in Jakarta and Bogor, including white water rafting at Citarik River nearby Gunung Halimun National Park. Now I’m done and want to spend another 4 days in Bandung. All activities are lining up for me, which I pre-booked everything from a portal.
“I am travelling alone, experiencing various food and multiple activities while in Jakarta and Bogor, including white water rafting at Citarik River nearby Gunung Halimun National Park.”
“Why didn’t you take the bus,” he asked. “I did,” I said. I was queuing to buy a ticket until I realised that my wallet is gone, stolen actually. I showed him my police report. I told him that I want to go to Bandung to meet a friend there who’s going to help me settle this small problem. Since I have no wallet and no money, I have no choice but to hitch hike my way to Bandung. Luckily I’m staying with my friend and all my activities were all paid in advance.
“Thank God my friend is going to loan me up some cash.” I explained.
This guy then brought me back to his house. “After dinner, I’ll drive you to Bandung.” His wife and 2 kids were greeting me with a smile. She was whispering something to husband, and he smiled. The dinner is served! I looked at the dining table and it was full of food. Frankly I was very surprised to see the food spread. I just met Pak Hasan about an hour ago, and now the dinner is served. I guess he must have texted his wife when driving us home and told her about me.
“I was queuing to buy a ticket until I REALIZED that my wallet is gone, stolen actually. I showed him my police report.”
The food is called Nasi Padang, and it has a wide spread of accessories to be enjoyed and eaten together with the steamed rice. Those various choices of pre-cooked dishes are originated from a city called Padang, a capital of West Sumatra, Indonesia. I walloped the whole thing in my plate, as I was very hungry. While enjoying the food, they were asking me a lot of questions about Malaysia, about my travel, why travelling alone, what do I do for a living and all. The kids also were happy to see me, a stranger sitting next to them having a meal together. It was kind of funny, as the language barrier between Malaysia and Indonesia isn’t that far off but still there are words that we couldn’t quite understand. Ended up, the conversation was in English most of the time.
After dinner is done, Ibu Tina served us a black coffee. It was very delicious. Then, I asked for a permission to borrow their bathroom for a quick shower. After all done, then Pak Hasan signalled me again that it’s time to make a move. I thanked everyone for the hospitality and grab my bags.
Three and half hours after that we reached Bandung. I asked for his favour to drop me right in front of Rumah Mode as my friend is waiting. I have nothing to offer to Pak Hasan for all his efforts, the fuel and toll as well another round of coffee we had again along the way.
“Don’t worry about all those. I’m helping you sincerely,” he said. After I took note of his telephone number, I hugged him like I used to hug my late dad. “Thank you Pak Hasan. I won’t be forgetting you, your nice family and this help. I will stay in touch.” We then split our ways.
I thought I’m just a traveller, but now I’m officially a great hitchhiker too.