Indonesia in retrospect – Part 3: On our own adventure! (a)

The following was an email that I wrote to someone who used to be special to me while I was in Indonesia. Narration in the form of an email, that’s a novelty for my blog! :p

Some amendments were made to the writing, also added in photos. Enjoy reading! 🙂


Dear NK,

Thank God that I’m back to hostel of UI safely! Phew… what a relief!

At the UI Railway Station

At the UI Railway Station

the ticket to experiencing life...

the ticket to experiencing life…

Today, we embraced the suggestion given by Bapak Henki and took the economic class train from Depok to Bogor. Bapak Henki said, “You guys should go experience life!” Zaino, Shahrul and have just reached a consensus that this is going to be our very first and last time travelling by train in Indonesia…

I asked the guys, "Can I climb to the top as well?Them: please don't be a disgrace to our uni... and you are going to fall!

I asked the guys, “Can I climb to the top as well?
Them: please don’t be a disgrace to our uni… and you are going to fall!

Once I boarded the train, adjectives that struck my mind instantly were: dirty, hot, smelly, mental-torturing, and YUCKS! I don’t consider myself as a pampered girl. I am quite proud that I could survive under most of the hard or tough conditions and have quite good adaptability, but the scene in the train was really unpleasant.

My sketch: the layout of the  train interior

My sketch: the layout of the train interior

To increase capacity, the train has only limited seats. There were many people sitting along the corridor with baskets of vegetables, fruits and even CHICKS! “Wow, Sam! Chicks are taking train together with us!” Zaino uttered.

The train was actually crowded enough to make us felt a bit uncomfortable already, but as the train traveled the flow of “mobile market” made the space even more congested. The sellers kept walking around in the train, selling tissues, cold drinks, hair accessories, fruits (apples, mandarin oranges, pears), fried tofu, candy, cigarettes, calendars, photo frames, handkerchiefs, snacks, etc., JUST NAME IT! Almost everything that you can normally find at our night market back home is sold here, in the train!

We didn’t have our breakfast before heading to Bogor. Therefore when the seller who was selling the fried tofu in his DIY trolley, Zaino and I were on the impulse to buy some to feed our growling stomachs. But to my ASTONISHMENT, I saw something that instantly made me lost all my appetite…

The wheels of the trolley had very small diameters only. Which means the tofu located at the lowest layer of basket almost touched the wet ground! With the seller pushing that trolley around....

The wheels of the trolley had very small diameters only. Which means the tofu located at the lowest layer of basket almost touched the wet ground! With the seller pushing that trolley around….

On our way back to Depok, the scene in the train was even more interesting! There were blind people singing around and then begging for money from the passengers. Next, came a lady who placed prayer booklets on the lap of every passenger.  Another lady then stood amid the crowd, reading some prayers aloud and her “colleagues” started to collect money from the passengers.

The entrepreneur in me was inspired: I turned to Kos and Shahrul:-

Me: I know what part time job we could do here in Indonesia. Let’s burn some VCD and CD using the university’s laptop and we come sell in the train!

Shahrul: Sam, it’s easier if we just sell our buttocks…

Me: Hahahahaha! I think I can sell my smiles! Smile at the passenger and ask for 1000, and they can pinch my face for 5000!

While I was enjoying (not really) the scenery along, a broom suddenly hit my foot and I saw a shabby boy and a mother carrying a baby on her back sweeping the floor in the duck walk position and at the same time extending their hands towards me begging for money. Trust me dear that this is indeed a saddening scene!

There was also a lady who put a packet of candy on everybody’s lap (seems like a common marketing strategy): if you want to buy, just pay her or you’ll have to give the candy back. I asked Shahrul, “Can’t we just act dumb? Just take the candy and put inside our bags. When asked, we could say we thought the candy is complimentary!”

Zaino is the most pampered child among us, he said he felt like vomiting being in the train. Nausea was not a problem for me but I felt very MZ in the train because it’s so crowded, no place for me to hold on (I was like practicing my balancing skill along the journey), I was always disturbed by the “mobile market” flow walking up and down in the train. I wanted to take photo in the train actually but the guys stopped me from doing so. They thought it’s not safe to expose my digicam and I might risk being robbed as digicam appears to be such a luxury amid the indigent setting of the train.

Pen off here. Miss you!

With love,


I felt as though I came out of ivory tower after the ride: I did read about poverty issue in every corner of the world but the train ride experience gave a very REAL projection of it and made me realized my privilege.

I think this was exactly why Bapak Henki urged us to take the train to Bogor: to experience life!

Part 1: campus life – (a), (b) | Part 2: host family | Part 3: adventure – (b)


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Inside the glass bottle…

“I want to walk tall, believe in myself, have the courage to ask for what I want and need, and live a life that mattered. I want to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face and know that I am loved and that I belonged. I am desperate to feel worthy and I am hungry for the opportunity to live my fullest potential.” - modified from "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" - Debbie Ford

Under the apple tree…

"If you are not spending all of your waking life in discontent, worry, anxiety, depression, despair, or consumed by other negative states; if you are able to enjoy simple things like listening to the sound of the rain or the wind; if you can see the beauty of clouds moving across the sky or be alone at times without feeling lonely or needing the mental stimulus of entertainment; if you find yourself treating a complete stranger with heartfelt kindness without wanting anything from him or her... it means that a space has opened up, no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking that is the human mind." - A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle

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Ich lese….

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

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The time keeper by Mitch Albom

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A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

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Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom

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The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

A Fresh Start by John Chapman

Inspiring quotes!

If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? (God in "Evan Almighthy")
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Aggie: "But what about the people who hurt you? Don't you ever want to make them suffer?" Norman Babcock: "Well, yeah, but what good would that do? You think just because there's bad people that there's no good ones either? I thought the same thing for a while. But there's always someone out there for you. Somewhere." - Paranorman
“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” by Walter Hagen
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, body totally worn out and screaming "WOOOHOOOO what a ride!" - by anonymous
When you travel, it’s not like you take a part of each place away with you; rather, it’s as if you leave a part of yourself there, like a part of you forever belongs to that place – the time, the people, and the things you saw; and over time, it gets burned deeper into your soul - by anonymous

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