When my feet are ‘tied’ to my workbench

Shall i tell you what i do when my feet are ‘tied’ to my workbench?

I’ve been a traveler since..as far as i could remember. However, we are currently living in and unprecedented time under this COVID-19 situation. No physical travel for sometime so I finally get my hiatus after being identified by some as part of – hypermobility community.

I’ve been blessed i know and i’m grateful for being able to live the way i want it to. Traveling was as easy as pack and go. I’ve been doing many throwbacks just so that i could re-live some experiences under this lockdown situation. It got me thinking – this was why i chose my major – Information technology – so that i could live in borderless world. To be able to travel beyond. Well.. that and also a clueless teenage girl choosing a major which looks promising at that time.

During my university years i learned many things starting from the coding, design, UI/UX, governance, project management, etc.. I like it so i kind of strive through it. Landed me here now..working on many. haha.. I mainly work with websites and mobile applications which then opens a vast horizon ahead.

It was nearly a decade ago when i started to be exposed on that environment. Well, at that time i was working on other items mainly on governance so yes, you could name ITIL, TOGAF, COBIT, ISO,many others. I was drowned inside it which was great because then it’s somehow imprinted in my brain and way of thinking. I still worked on that for sometimes applying it for corporate governance, security, infrastructure, policies, sop….until i finally moving bit by bit towards working with website and mobile application – mainly for sales automation. This is the turning point when i started to travel frequently.

Over that experience, i learned something which was then now we know as personas. being on the field with them makes me has that view of considering my end users. The job is tough enough and technology should help instead of making it more complicated. That experience then landed me to another item – developing a D2C ( direct to consumer ) platform from scratch. I can’t be more thankful to all those experience on the field cause it helps a lot. However, before i could complete it there came another opportunity. Working with sales automation in bigger scale not only in the country but within a region so yes, hello Asia Pacific!

Being always attracted to different countries moving to handle a bigger region was a decision which now, looking back, was a right decision. By choosing that, i enlarged my physical coverage. That was when i traveled more and more in bigger scope for both personal and professional purpose. It was priceless to be able to see how diverse human are and how each part has their own challenge. That is also when i was awaken by how being me along with my attributes could get me discriminated. How to finally being the minority. LIFE is not always unicorn and rainbow guys… Biggest learning at that time was to handle all of those differences and applying it into the project management and it stretched you to be more matured i would say. I’ve also started to handle more items including regulations, contract, and budgeting.So yes, i shifted from technical to more managerial role.

Over the time, my geek side started to tickle hence i tried to look into other opportunity which then brought me here to today. In short, i am currently still working with website and mobile application still closely tied to sales and marketing processes with a drip of warehousing and production. What’s different is that within this role i’ve gotta to take a look more on cloud infrastructure, devops, and machine learning.

All those items are actually interwined. We use the mobile and website application as the point of data collection. We develop it by implementing DEVOPS in the CLOUD infrastructure with internet facing connection. We have to think about the security when we are in the internet so here my Governance knowledge start to play its role. We have to think about not only in technical security but also in legal terms. How are we being responsible in the act of collecting and managing the information?

Moving on about data. Okay, great we have our data collected. However, these are the challenges that is very real. Those data can’t talk with each other. We keep them with different codes and description. The act of data cleansing and engineering comes into the picture. There are couple of machine learning comes as well. In the end it’s always how to analyse and make use all those information which one is right to be look right now.

If i could give you an example, let’s take the act of loging in and using a blogging site. My membership and my digital behaviour e.g. cookies will be treated as 1st party data. It’s powerful because you know for sure who is this person and what is this person doing within your platform. Now, let me make it more powerful with other digital tracing be it a partnership with other platform ( 2nd party data ) or getting aggregated 3rd Party data. Boom! you have the info of this person and the digital track. You will know this person interest and activities : what is it that they are looking for, websites visited, type of purchased, location,etc. Therefore you will be able to give more personalised experience. It’s powerful and helpful for both service provider to be more efficient in targeting their customer and for the customer to get something that is more suitable for their needs.

It’s interesting right? and that’s only for one thing. Oh, dear i really like IT, don’t i? 😉 From time to time, when i travel and being exposed to new things i can’t help to think about how i could improve the process or even things that i have in hand with that experience. Well, now that i can’t really go physically, i think this is a good time to soak into those experiences and put it more in context. because isn’t it that’s why we travel? to explore new places, to know more, and to be better than we are at the moment.

More throwback coming and i am thinking to put some tech sprinkle in between… among all the hi and good bye that i had and witnessed. wish you were never part of something that i have to say goodbye to.

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi.

The Hike from Pisang to Manang ( part 1 )

Morning comes and we need to get ourselves ready to continue our trip. Small reminder – order your breakfast after your dinner along with the timing when do you want to have your breakfast or else you have to wait for around 1 hour or so. Finishing our breakfast, packing up, we always check if we have enough water supply until the next stop. Along the way you will find some water sources which our guide said it’s common for local to drink but he’s worried that it might not suitable for us. Hence we decided to go with bottled water along our way. Funny part is the price raise around 50 – 100 rupees following the raise of elevation.

Once we are ready, we continued the journey from Pisang to Manang. We took the upper trail. If you google it you will find lower and upper. Upper trail will really blessed you with a great view but the trail is more challenging. Doable but tougher in which you will see how within this writing.

Started with a walk along the village where we stayed. We noticed that the structure was built by mailny by using rocks, woods, and something which looks like bushes but we weren’t really sure. At the gate where we went out of the village there is another spinning prayer wheels. You could see quite number of it within the trail. Well, don’t forget to pray for everyone’s health, safety, and happines!

Once we were near and passed the gates, we could see many farm fields. This is where we learned from our guide, these farm fields were also the reason behind it’s named as Annapurna. Anna means grain/food and Purna means Full so basically the name itself saying that the place is full with grains/food. it’s very beautiful to see though it’s a bit sad to see some of them are abandoned. I think this phenomena happens anywhere in the world. The youngster left the village and go to the city so now the village population are consist with more elders and kids.

the first part of the journey was mainly within the edge of a cliff and rocks and slight inclination. All is well all is good. There are some parts within the trails where the sun kicks in and the clouds went away until we could see the tip of Annapurna Mountain and the look of lower trail.

Walking for a while, we finally meet another prayer walls. This time it’s bigger than the previous one and our guide told us to have a rest. We enjoyed the view and taking a look at our surrounding until we reached the end of the prayer wheels and see the next trail. That point of time, we are all asked ourselves with fainted laugh –> “Why did we do this to ourselves?”. The next trail was no joke. You literally crossing a valley going with a steeper inclination. Get your hiking stick ready. It comes handy.

Here we go! First you will need to cross a bridge. By now i am quite used to it. Not to worry it’s safe though it may get shaky due to the wind and all the movement along the way. Once you crossed the bridge, the road starts to incline no need to be quick just go with your pace as this point of time if you are not used to it breathing itself may have become a sport. We are already above 3,000 m. Our heart and lungs work hard already so just adjust your pace wisely and stop where you need it. Here are some pictures out of that experience.

When i finished the trail, sitting there i looked at what i have just been through. wew… it was a long way down. Is it the end? LOL. Definitely no! not even half of the day yet felt so long already. there were a lot of people passing this trail too. It may be confusing without our guide. Left and right looking the same turned out that the trail could lead to different places. hufft… just let’s have a break for now. the wind was pretty strong and the sunshine strike through your eyes. Cover yourself accordingly. Good sunglasses is a must have. A polarized one with UV protection will be good for you.

We can’t stop for too long as it wasn’t even half of the journey. At the peak there are some small housing and village but off we go to the higher place. Overall, the view is about the same as the previous village where the building was made by using rocks and woods. It’s quite enjoyable to pass through the area.

Off from the village, here comes another journey of us. It is still going up and up and up. Rocks makes the road slightly hard to walk on the inclination is no help either. The view though.. Blue Sky, serene environment, and the sound of the wind. All that makes you concentrate on what is really lies before your eyes and to live in the moment. Things that we usually forget or take for granted. Over here every seconds really is felt by the whole body. Tired yes happy yes. Here we come Ngawal.

After that point around 3,700 m above sea level, we were going down to stay the night. This is something that i learned from the trip go hike to higher elevation is okay but stay in lower elevation. This is to avoid the AMS ( altitude mountain sickness ). That and also keep yourself hydrated, pacing ur walk accordingly, and perhaps some medication will do the trick if you need it. Some of us started to drink acetazolamide 2 days before the hike. There are some side effects that you needs to be aware off. It may cause you to feel thirsty yet at the same time push you to have a more frequent toilet visit which could be challenging at times but that spices up your journey, doesn’t it? 😛 Ok, from here off we go to get our late lunch. The trip was quite long this time it was already past 2 PM.

Continuing the journey of going down consist of flat surface, slight inclination due to the contour ( but manageable unlike morning hike ), and a steep slope in one part. This part is rather dusty. Wear your mask. Somehow the road started to have sands here and there and more trees this time. We took a break in between within the flat surface to enjoy the ridge and to check our health indicator. It was really is a long walk for the day and we haven’t finished yet. I recall when i sat down my brain feels empty. I was incapable of thinking as i used to. LOL. So.. my suggestion would be leave anything that you work on and things behind and just enjoy the moment. You have come a long way.

When the pact is complete and ready to go on, we carried on the journey. Along the way, our guide keep on telling us that it was already near but well.. he has been telling us that since hours back and yet here we are still walking. Honestly, i was a bit worried because the sun is about to set and i know we haven’t reached Manang yet. However, our guide took a quick calculation and i think he has the whole map in his head. He planned ahead and we finally end our journey in other city than Manang. It was Mungji.

The stop in Mungji was something that out of our plan but necessary i would say. Remember, when you are in a pack you need to make sure the whole bunch could carry on and i think it’s better to stop since it’s going to be dark soon. I was amazed by how fast the new arrangement could come into place. New accommodation arrangement and stuffs and there we went to that day place to stay. too bad that there was no picture. Haha..we were all just too tired.

let me pause it over here, by bidding you all a good bye and to see you on the next post related with how we reach MANANG. FINALLY!

Wish you were there to hike the mountain and bring our luggages.. *oops 🙂

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

The Hike From Chame to Pisang

Morning falls and here we are packing, preparing ourselves to take a long walk for the day. It was cloudy so we couldn’t really see the sun. Have i told you that the temperature was so cold? definitely no shower for me just a bit wash up is enough. 😛 we stayed in a tea house, a good one i must say since we could still have hot water ( though i can’t make it work ) and decent bungalow like room to sleep. Mone could accommodate 3 persons in a room. Oh, i also must tell you, within my journey, i realised that it took quite long to prepare your food beside dal bhat so ordered your breakfast after you finish your dinner if you plan to go off in the morning.

Once, we are ready we walked down the path. The road are still a solid path at the beginning. The same trail that a car could pass on. It was quite nice walk in a flat path with slight incline here and there. You could just enjoy the scenery from here.

Continuing the journey you start to enter the forest with all the trees and apparently sheeps with their shepherd dogs. It’s very cute to me. 🙂 just after we passed on an apple farm. It was good to stop by and enjoy a bit of a fresh apple.

You will be rewarded with different view when you do your walk, sometimes it’s trees, sometimes it’s rocky, and sometimes it is a bit scary cause there are some angles whereby you can’t see what’s ahead of you until you get into that point so you need to be very cautious here. During the trip you may see some spinning prayer wheels. Nepal people use this to pray spinning it while you go. You spin the smaller piece once and bigger piece more ( my bad i didn’t really remember how many times should i spin ).

Starting from this rocks, i was struck by a horrible headache. My allergy attacked me hard. it was suddenly felt so cold. I had to adjust my pace accordingly so that i didn’t faint. i started to wear my extra layers cause this is not even half way of that day. Here comes to the rescue my gloves, my second layered jacket, and face mask. It may look strange for some cause the weather was considered to be a very good weather. LOL. anyway, i will have to make it to the end of the day!

Off this walking trail, you will meet a road for cars. We followed that to grab our Lunch! Finally a stop by for me so that i could stabilise myself a bit. When you enter a place which looks like a housing complex ( perhaps ) there is a map which will give you some ideas where you are though they are not at scale. Similar like what i mentioned at the beginning, serving food really took sometime. Understandable, everything is cold so it will take sometime to heat it up moreover in such height.

Once we finished the lunch, here comes the second part of the trip another trail to walk on. I’ve gotta admit though this kind of walk is refreshing and my mind is just so clear. You don’t really think of anything leaving behind things for a while putting a stop to your usual. I must say my pack having a good time. Physically tired but happy.

This flat contour doesn’t last long though afterwards we will need to hike a bit into a higher altitude so if you choose this trail enjoy it while you can. Right when we think this won’t stop we entered another housing complex and our guide told us that this where we stopped for the day! Huraaaayy…! I would like to highlight it’s important to choose your guide correctly since along the way the situation change quite a lot. I think our guide measured it just about right for the first day.

We tried to settle in but really we were taken by the view. It was mesmerizing. All you need to do is just to come out of your room and there Annapurna mountain ahead of you swaying you with its beauty.

Looking back for the trip it was a good day. Everything just about right though it looks clear and bright, it was actually already near to the sunset time. I can’t really imagine if we continue or if we come a bit latter considering the path. All of us are considered as newbie who apparently crazy enough to choose Nepal as a first timer ( for me at least ). Darkness comes to us rather quickly and again the signals were gone sometimes after 6 PM. So off we go to rest so that we are ready for tomorrow.

Good night from us. Wish you were there to enjoy the scenery. 😉

ps. Allow me to pause over here and pray for everyone’s safety and well being in Nepal. Remembering the journey i can’t really imagine how COVID-19 pandemic affect this country tourism. This too shall pass and once again human will be ready to explore the nature.off the beaten path.

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

Kathmandu to Besisahar to Chame

The story between Kathmandu and Besisahar

We have finally arrived in Kathmandu – the capital city of Nepal. Getting out of the airport, we were welcomed by our friend who will join us within this trip! The pack is now complete. Our eyes wandered wildly in the effort to soak the new environment and adapt and off we go the city center – Thamel.

Thamel is quite busy many people come here especially for tourist based on my observation. There are many shops, restaurants, and money exchange around this area. It seems to me that this is where you could purchase anything that you need for your trip, if you go to Nepal for outdoor activities. More about this on later post. While for us, this is to finish all administrations with our travel agent and to have lunch before we take off. Btw, the size of the food was massive with a lot of Rice. You will surely feel full.

The lunch time was a very good time for pacing. Personally, i felt so much has happened within that last couple of days. Nepal was the 4th Country just within days count with flights have been flown. It was good to be on the ground before we continue our journey to Besisahar. A road trip for another 7 – 8 hours.

The trip started off quite well, we used a van type since there were luggage and 8 persons to be carried over. while waiting, i’ve noticed that in Kathmandu people ride motor bike quite a lot. It’s similar like Jakarta but in a different type. The environment was dusty so it would be good to wear mask.

During the road trip, i couldn’t help but to compare the vegetation and the surrounding like in Java island. I read online before my trip that the road between Kathmandu and Besisahar is good with a high way. Along the way i had to ponder – was our understanding of a high way was different or did i use different road? all in all it’s an asphalt road with usual structure to go up and down on mountain area. Overall the trip was great with a bit impedance where our car vehicle stuck in a water stream.

When we reached Besisahar, it was already late at night. We tried to adapt ourselves with the new place. Cleaned ourselves and ate dinner ( My First dal baht! ) before we finally went to sleep. Writing this i can’t helped but reminisce that the pact was awakened at 3 or 4 AM in the morning because one of our fellow had a call with the family back in Jakarta. She was looking for her cat named “Belang” ( means “Stripes” in English ). It was loud. I love my friend to the bone but at that time i wanted to shoved my pillow at her. >_< Yet, all that was cleared out with the morning rise and the environment surround us. Wow… 🙂

The story between Besisahar and Chame

After finishing our breakfast, off we go to Chame. The next city. Another 6 – 8 hours drive. This time we had to change into Jeep. The road to go there is not suitable for camp. The road was more challenging. This is what a real off road looks like. It’s a trip with an inch away from the cliffs, narrow road only for one lane, and midst. Along the way, it got me thinking that Nepal people are high skill worker in the area. The driver could still drive with one hand. Oh my…

During the road trip you could see people who have already started their hike. Drive carefully around them and be nice. It’s common to say namaste when you meet other people here. What i really like about this roadtrip was it awarded us with a very nice view of the ridge and a very nice lunch place across waterfall. Our heart content! btw, don’t hope you will get good signal within the road. It was only available in certain places so it’s good to have your buddies around.

Continuing the journey, the weather getting a bit unfriendly with midst and rain. Yet, that wasn’t all. Our road was blocked. We had to cross a river and the bridge was still under development. There we were had to pack all the belongings crossing the unfinished bridge under drizzling weather. The new jeep were smaller so it was more packed for all of us. Thankfully we had pass half of the journey. Oh, notes for you! for every outdoor activities there are documents that you will need to administer so that you could get the permit. Ours was the permit for Annapurna. The documents will be checked couple of times depending on your journey track. Well, ours were prepared by the travel agent so i can’t really share the process.

When we finally reached Chame, it was already nearing sunset. The surrounding was foreign yet familiar at the same time. Many buildings were built by using woods and it looks like a good holiday home. Just with a thick mist and in high altitude. Chame is 2,650m above sea level. Ha! get ready dear low altitude creatures. Jakarta is less than 10 m above sea level. So.. yes, we came long way here.

We roamed around a little bit in Chame before the sun set. There are shops which sells trekking / hiking gears so you could still get something here. There are pharmacies as well if you need something. Taking a bit of walk in our surrounding then we came back to the lodging to get some warm environment and to eat dinner.

We ordered a noodle which taste like instant noodle with some local spices and tried the local bread. I don’t remember the name but the bread taste nice. Fresh and a bit sweet as well. Both were quite fulfilling. Playing some cards afterwards with the pack. Teaching our guide how to play ‘Boong’ which means ‘Lie’. He started with telling the truth all the time until he finally lied and we kept on trusting him. Good move! night comes and we had to end it, need to prepare ourselves for the hike.

The temperature was very cold for low altitude tropical creatures like us. So we need to sleep with jackets and stuffs. This is where all the notes that i read about “..you will regret that extra layer / stuffs that you don’t bring…” comes into my head. If only i had them with me. *Cry later that night, this time i could understand even better the need of a headlamp. The electricity somehow unstable so it will be good to have it just in case. Not only that, it’s useful when you have to go to the washroom / Bathroom. Enabling you to have the hands free experience. Until then, sleep tight. See you on our hike story!

Wish you were there spending hours on the road with us. 🙂

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

See You India – Namaste Nepal

India trip was amazing, however, we need to move on to the next destination – Nepal. With heavy eyes, we woke up very early in the morning. Dear All, please, if i could tell you a story about any processing time in India, somehow anything was proceeded rather slow…please learn from our experience and spare much more time when you want to go somewhere.

First task, Checking out from the hotel. Okay, it took sometime. we could still enjoy a bit of the hotel lobby in the dark of course since it was early morning. Once we are good to go, i took the hotel bill and was amazed on Indian Taxation. Dear.. it’s complicated no wonder my colleagues who implement system related with it had many challenges in India.

Second task, going from the hotel to the airport, this is quick. Good. Third, entering the airport. Dear Lord, it took very long time. the queue wasn’t even have that much of people, but really it took us an hour just to enter the building only to find the check-in queue was about the same condition if not worse. 😦 Everything needs patience yet this is another level of long processing time i could ever imagine. Until, the officer had to call people out of the queue or else people will miss the flight – including ours.

After we had our baggage settled, we ran into the immigration. Oh my…my.. here comes a very long lines. Again, the process was quite slow. I wasn’t sure why and up until now still unsure. I was in a group of three and we decided to separate ourselves, whoever finish first must go to the gate so that our plane didn’t leave us behindbecause we were still in immigration line on our take off time with all the worst scenario has passed our mind. Finally, I finished first and i ran like crazy. I think i was pretty loud since people from afar giving me ways in advance. LOL.

Sweet truth though, As i came nearer to the Gate, people were still waiting to get into the boarding Room. Thanks God! having the experience of the processing time, i took sometime off to freshen up myself first and i was right. When i came back, the line was still there. 😀 Me and my group could finally had a breather walking on usual pace. welcoming our next flight from New Delhi to Khatmandu. This time we use Indigo for another experience flying and since it’s affordable. 🙂

once we were onboard and fly, here comes our hunger. all the plan to eat and enjoy the airport has been thrown away out of the window. here to the cup noodles and some confusion in counting the Indian Rupees.

The trip between New Delhi and Khatmandu was not that long. Perhaps it was due to our excitement it feels even shorter. In no time we have arrived in Khatmandu. – Tribuvhan International Airport. The airport was not big and just like that you enter the gate and you were already at the immigration line.

What i would like to share is that, if you haven’t submitted your VISA document then you could fill it up at the airport. They have machine ready for that. However, i will still suggest you to fill it and get it printed before you go to Nepal. ( read about it here ) Reason being – who knows what will happen at the airport. One of our friend who came a day earlier experienced electricity problem.

After you get your VISA submission ready, you need to go to the cashier to pay for your VOA ( visa on arrival ). just next to it there is a money changer. We found that the price that they offer over here is quite competitive compare to the other after the immigration so if you need a bit of cash you could exchange it here or maybe you could wait a bit until you get into the city. Once you get all set, here we go to the immigration lane to enter the country.

I was so excited and nervous at the same time. Wow.. me? really? i am going to go to hiking? I have million reasons not to yet there i was going to have my first hike ever in Nepal. Isn’t it dreamy? more about it later. For now, welcome to Nepal. Wish you were there with us!

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

The Enchanting Taj Mahal

Have you lost words on what you see before you? I have. One of it is when i saw Taj Mahal. The road to get here was long yet it was worth it. All the way from Amritsar – New – Delhi – Agra to see it.If you ever happen to go there, behold of the crowd. First, you will need to queue to get your ticket. There is a dedicated line for foreigner though it was also crowded during my visit. The ticket comes in a form of token that it’s good to be used for 3 hours. Yes, there is a limitation of how long you could stay inside. Nonetheless, Once you got in you will be welcomed by a view.

First, you will meet the entrance. There is a gate which connect the place where the workers who developed the building stay and Taj Mahal. That gate and border was built with red brick colour. During that time it has been said that the wall of the gate was full with artworks. Can you see a glimpse of the white Taj Mahal behind it?

The gate to go into taj mahal main area

Moving forward into the red gate, you will be taken aback by the details. The symmetrical composition and all the sculpture all over the place but most importantly by the view of white taj.

Moving forward, the garden will welcome you with its beaut. The balance between left and right is always appetizing for the eyes. Not to mention the reflection within the surface of turquoise water. It has been said that Taj Mahal could change its colour. Too bad i wasn’t able to witness it. I hope you do.

When you are at the center, you could see that there are two buildings around the main building. The left one within the picture is a mosque while the right one is library. The mosque is still functioning and our guide told us that Taj is still closed during Friday prayer time so that the Muslim could do the prayer.

Going further to the center, we tried to enter the mail building from the left as we would like to visit the mosque. When i got there, i met the other Muslim as well and some are performing the prayer. The place of ablution is a pool in between the mosque and the white Taj Mahal. Don’t forget to take off your foot ware when you want to enter. Unfortunately the building has been a bit worn off. I think time has gotten its best out of it. I could only imagine how it looks like in its prime time. It must have been so pretty.

Finishing the mosque visit, we move to the center. Yes, you could enter the main building. We had to wear a protective layer wrapping our shoes. This is to protect the building from any damage. It’s all white marble guys… wow.. just wow. Eaten by the marvelous bulding, There i was went to the queue to get inside. Please exercise your patient as in the inside could only accommodate limited number of people at a time and was a bit dark when i was there.

We couldn’t take picture inside the main building, though i saw many didn’t abide to this rules. Not for me though so i could only tell a story of what i saw. When you enter through the main door there lies the cenotaphs of the late queen and king. It was actually a bit of a chilling experience for me because the real one is actually beneath all of this crowd within the garden level. The cenotaphs was surrounded by a wall looks like an eight sided chamber. Not sure what is such form being called. (^_^”) basically what you could do is look around circling that chamber from entrance through exit by using the same door.

The highlight from the queue experience and seeing the Taj up close, i can’t help but mesmerized. Did you know the pattern within Taj Mahal wall? it’s not painted guys. It’s either made by sculpting the marble or planted the stone within the marble. That amount of works was just crazy. It blew my mind. You could take a look below. Do you see it? the flower pattern was carved. The green, yellow, red colour are stone. it’s not painted! Oh My God. I can’t think of how much does it cost to build this and the dexterity level. Mesmerizing.

Moving forward to the back of Taj Mahal, you could see the river. Over the river at the opposite of Taj Mahal you will see a vast open space. That was the place that has been cleared out by Shah Jahan to build another Taj Mahal in Black. The foundation has been put in place the work has never been finished though had it been finished it will definitely become another world famous story.

Black Taj Mahal Plan

The look of the river marking the end of our stroll of Taj Mahal. We walked out from Taj Mahal right side this time to take a look of the building from another end. If you are a photography enthusiast this place offers you a lot of beautiful angle in which i can’t captured.

Wish you were there so that we could have a lot more beautiful memoirs.

As of now, this is me bidding a good bye to a place that has been on my wish list for so long. See you when i see you and may you stand tall for the years to come. Thank you for being there and become the inspiration of one of my favourite disney story – Aladdin. It really is a whole new world. 🙂

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

The Road Taj Mahal

“I can show you the world..shining, shimering, and splendid” – this song plays non stop in my head when Taj Mahal cross in my mind. I would say the trip to Taj Mahal was something that i have in mind since long time ago. I didn’t get my VISA couple of years back ( not sure what is the reason ) it’s just stay there as in progress. So, when i have my e-Visa on hand there is no way i skip Taj Mahal.

It was pretty packed after our trip in Amritsar to see Golden Temple & Wagah Border but we continued on. We packed our bag to go to the next City – New Delhi. It was so early in the morning half awake, we dragged our body back to the airport. Amritsar and New Delhi are quite far from each other. We decided to take airplane for the trip as it will take just about an hour.

You know, Amritsar airport has its own uniqueness. It’s an international airport that is not to small but not to big either. It’s in a size that is just enough. The check-in process was easy but when we got into the boarding room and saw our boarding passes.. “hang on, where is Gate 5?” haha.. Ground floor only have 4 gates yet we are in Gate5. Nonetheless, we just carred on since it wasn’t boarding time yet grabbing some breakfast and drinks. but wait.. what is that? Did i hear bird chirping? OH YES INDEED! not only chirping from afar but inside the lounge just on top of the restaurant. LOL. India you really have my heart. 🙂

Once, it’s already nearing our boarding time, there is no announcement or anything until one officer comes around announcing our flight. Oh dear you really have to be alert all the time. It turned out that our gate is upstairs. A bit of a confusion due to all the development i would say. Anyway, New Delhi here we come.

The flight was short and when we landed we already have a our driver from the hotel waiting. You know what i would share with you that our accommodation this time was so awesome. We stayed at New Delhi Holiday Inn International Airport. The services was good especially for the staff that welcome us. One of my friend fell sick and they really assisted us nicely. We are a happy guest!

Continue on about the trip. I excuse myself from the group for a while to get a local simcard. LOL the problem with an internet addict. I actually felt very uneasy when i am not connected to the internet. Amritsar doesn’t really have the local simcard for tourist so yes, i had a bit of detox over there. Once i get into the stall, in the midst of setting up and only by then the seller told me.. okay this will be online after 8 PM and i was like?? what?? it’s not directly on line?? it was another awed for me. Long story short i returned the sim card and had to go through a tough discussion to get my money back. Dude! i will only stay for a day in Delhi so that is definitely not a kind of solution that i would like to have. so caution for you who have such itinerary like mine.I left off and there we are dropping our baggage at the hotel.

New Delhi Airport – Do you se the hand? – by Mondya P

Our hotel is in New Delhi while Taj Mahal is in another city – Agra. We have looked out for travel options mainly car and train. We were helpless with the train information and in the end decided to rent a car + driver. The trip was long it took around 3 – 4 hours drive one way. So you could imagine going back and fort already took much time…however, let’s just enjoy the ride, shall we? as usual, what is a road trip without rest area stop? we made a stop and i could finally get a taste of India Starbucks. before continuing the journey. :9 and btw, you could still see cow crossing the toll road and i even saw a car drive through another side of the lane. India you really have my heart.

When we reached Agra, it has passed lunch time and really all the snacking along the way didn’t really cope with the appetite. Hence, our local guide suggested us to eat first. It was raining anyway and we just about so lucky that Taj Mahal was closed for official visit from other country. There we are eating some local delicacies. I had to say i love it. I am not a fan of Indian food since i can’t really take some spices but by far staying in India for couple of days, i didn’t have problem eating at all. Now, it left a question : “then what was all those Indian food that i can’t eat before this?”

Indian Starbucks.. yeaaap.. freshen up a bit
This is DELISH! briyani and lamb.

With a full tummy, Finally our friend and i continue our journey to see Taj Mahal. The weather outside was still cloudy after big rain. It was still drizzling but we can’t delay our journey any further.

Reaching Taj Mahal Area, our driver dropped us off at the gate. It was by local regulation that there shouldn’t be personal vehicle within certain perimeter from Taj Mahal. So we got off walk a bit and took a the provided vehicle. It feels a bit like an open safari. 😉 everything was good until we reached the entrance. OH MY GOD. It was very packed. I think thanks to the temporary closure and the huge rain. You could take a glimpse of it over here.

It was chaotic, the queue was crazy. A separate lane for foreigner wasn’t a big help i would say. We were quite lucky since we had a local guide with us so we have things provided though we still need to wait under the rain. Once we got our ticket ( it is in a token form btw ) off we go passing through the entrance. Once we get in, we though that it wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t that pack. Little that we know that we haven’t really enter the place. LOL.

When we finally get in.. oh waw.. all the trip all the effort to get there was worth it! the scenery was so beautiful. No wonder it’s very famous. Oh my, i can’t really contain my happiness seeing that place. Finally, i could see it with my own eyes after hearing about this place uncountable times.

I will tell you about it more detail later on.. as for now.. here is the picture of majestic Taj Mahal for our eyes to see. Wish you were there with us having our eyes wide opened.

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

One Day in Amritsar – Part Two Wagah Border

Continuing our journey in Amritsar, After visiting the Golden Template we visited Wagah Border. Wagah is a territory between India and Pakistan. Within the border, they have a Flag ceremony nearing sunset time when they put down the flag. We tried to look it up before we go to Amritsar and found that the ceremony itself is something festive, so we thought why not?

Going from our hotel area to Wagah Border will take around 1 hour drive. We went there by renting a car and driver. This is something that i will recommend you to do as well. The ceremony take place around 5 PM during our visit yet our driver suggested us to leave at 2 PM. He shared with us that it will be very pack and it’s better if we leave earlier. Off we go!

I don’t really have a good picture to share but i must say that the experience of driving in India ( Amritsar to be exact ) is something that is at a different level from what i’ve experienced else where. Jakarta traffic is already something, but oh my.. India is different. I still find the Honking most of the time, that we know. However, within the trip i could find so many things happening at once and that there are so many actors. You could find not only people with many types of vehicle but also various kind of animal e.g. dog and cow. It’s something that is very unique where you could find cows roaming around on the main road. WOW.. just WOW! and it’s something that captures my eyes up until our destination.. the Borders.

I was superbly excited with the fact that i could see giant India & Pakistan Flag not very far from where i was, there lies another land another country. I couldn’t contain my excitement and curiosity. Once we reached the parking lot, we prepare ourselves + our belongings. Please no bag when you get in bring only the necessary items such as some money, camera, phone, passport – no food / drinks. Once we were ready and got off the car some people approached us offering this and that and we surrendered to one guy who offered to draw a temporary Indian flag. ( see pic below ) then we proceeded to the lane to enter the place.

When you want to enter the stadium, there are two lanes. Make sure you go to the correct lane since there is a separate lane for foreigners. I guess because it’s not the time yet we have been requested to wait outside of the stadium. It was very hot so i would recommend you to wear your sunglasses and/or your hat. Once they allow you to get in, you can’t seat as what you want. The officer direct us to go into specific seating arrangement only for foreigner and we have to fill the space accordingly. Since we were the first we have to go the upper corner. Sitting there under the hot sun, i’ve learned my lesson. Make sure you are hydrated and do not drink the cold drink nor ice. Btw, the price over there for drinks has been standardised so don’t be fooled by the seller. Have a look around you since the price is being put on the wall / pillar. The standardised price is reasonable.

while waiting for the time to get in

Okay, now that we have been seated here comes the wait until the ceremony starts. While waiting, i could see my driver words come true. It’s packed with people. I have been amazed that there are many local comes to this place as well. So it’s indeed a tourist attraction. At the same time, i could also see people are passing by from India to Pakistan and vice versa. So, yep this is an actively used border between two countries.

When it’s started, India side starts with some acts by one officer to spice up the condition. It’s all in local language so i didn’t really understand. xD yet, it’s still captivating. There are certain formation that they have made, then it’s continued with some songs being played, big wave, and a gigantic Indian flag being passed on among the spectators moving from one end to another end. Not only that, i’ve been informed that if you are a woman you could join the ceremony bringing the flag from the stadium entrance to the center along with the rest and it’s indeed happened. It was very joyful. people are happy, dancing, singing along, and all before things get a bit more serious when the officers start their part.

After all the songs here comes the officers parts. They made so many formation. Too bad we couldn’t really catch all of that. It’s still enticing for the eyes though. All movement are quite attractive as if you are acting very big showing off your capacity and capability. It felt like it with some audio accent here and there to amplify the effect. All the formation start from the entrace towards the gate between India and Pakistan. All of our eyes are at the border when both countries’ officer meet each other when the gate is opened. btw, on India side they provided a big screen which could aid you in seeing the whole things.

Both Countries are showing their act when they are facing each other. All with the extravagant movement and sound. I tried to look for the meaning and it turned out to be some friendly figures between both showing the power of each. It is actually have a good meaning behind it not some agitation. happy to know 🙂

when the flag started to go down

After the gate is opened and the flag is coming down. That’s actually the cue for us to leave. Again, this is the notes from our driver since if you wait until everything’s finished you will have to move along with the whole stadium. You could see from the picture how packed is that so we decided to go of. even that, many did the same.

You will have to go out from the same place where you entered the stadium. Different from entering protocol, exiting protocol is more lax. the lane separation between foreigners and local is no longer there. Be aware of your belonging during that time since there are quite number of people around you. We managed to go out just fine until we reached the parking lot and meet our driver. The driver directly got off as he want to avoid the jam which we could understand as well there are many cars and buses parked so we could imagine how it will be.

Leaving that place i can’t helped but feel surreal. There are so many things that my eyes could see and my senses to experience. It leaves me in awe.. My visit in Amritsar is wrapped! or not yet.. since the experience in Amritsar airport on the next day is another story to tell.

See you in the next post and wish you where there to experience all that with us. 😉

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

One Day in Amritsar – First Part Golden Temple

Good day! so after the long trip to go to Amritsar we had our rest and ready to start the day with Indian breakfast – pharata yums!:9 It was one bright morning perfect for city stroll. We divided the day whereby we will spend the first half to explore areas within Golden Temple, take a rest, then go to Wagah border. Once we finish our breakfast, we stay very near to golden temple so we could go by foot.

The city is very lovely. Well, you know India that i saw on tv or media weren’t shown during my stay over there though you could still hear all the honking. Haha i think that part of India authenticity that can’t be taken away. however, it might be due to the nature of the city it feels calming. Amritsar is one of the India holy city with Golden temple as its center of attention. We stay close so within just couple of minutes walk we could hear the chanting from the temple. Here have a look of it. 🙂

Golden Temple

This temple is indeed such a beaut for the eyes. Before you enter you will need to take of your footware, wash your foot, and put a modest attire. It is a holy place so please be respectful. People go here for praying and there are places where you could dip into the pool. Separate place is provided for the woman. While i was there, there are quite number of people drawing the temple and it turned out they are actually students. If you see my picture there is a lane to get into the temple. It was so packed and i didn’t go in. being there at the edge of the pool is calming enough for me. I just like the serenity. lovely.

The temple is the center but we came here to experience something else too. So when we looked up about this place, they provide food for free to the visitors. So off we go. First you will be given plate and the eating utensils ( caution : if you don’t want to eat that much just take one plate and share with your friend.do not take separate plate ) then you go along with people movement to an open space where you will be instructed to sit on the floor within lane.

Once you seat, you could see that there are number of people gathered around to eat and there are alot of things happening at the same time. People eat, finish, go then the people ( from the temple i suppose ) do the cleaning. Good type of busy, efficient i would say.

Uh oh here comes our food.. First person come, i lift my plate but he asked me to put it on the floor then he gave me something yellowish like sweet potato. Second person come, i have no idea what is that but it looks like bean soup? Third person came, He gave me bread. You will get 2 bread by default but you could ask for more. Fourth person come, another bean soup? Fifth person will pour water for you to drink. So there we have a complete meal. It was good but taste foreign for us yet still eat up guys!

People eat very fast. When they finish, they take away their utensils and go out to the exit lane. Following the lane i found that first they will take your eating utensils, then plates. Again. very efficient. People then will pass your plates etc around ’till the end where they clean it. What an experience which i will recommend you to try on.

Having our stomach full, we decided to take another round and having a better look over the vicinity. btw, they provide drinking water in several spots so you don’t need to worry over your hydration. when we feel enough, we took our exit to come back to our hotel for a bit of rest before the second place – wagah border.

During our way back, you know what.. we found MCDONALDS. LOL. i suggested to go in so we got in for some AC. Oh dear it was blazing hot. We ordered some items to know the difference compare to the one in Indonesia. When i paid for it, i was so surprised because the price is quite low.

okay now, with an even more full stomach, we really need to get back to the hotel to get some rest. way between the hotel and the temple is quite vibrant with all people and the building. So here are some snaps so that you could get a gist of it.

as for the other half day in Amritsar, i will tell you on the next post. 🙂

Wish you were there enjoying all this with us.

breakfast. :9

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi

This Is How We Meet India

“All my bags are packed i am ready to go” – or so i hope. FINALLY the day to go off to India! I still remember the hustle on that very morning of last minute packing and all. OMG! never again not taking an advance leave for a day before long trip. learn from my experience guys… it’s a much needed time. Thanks to my clumsiness i left my jacket which should be an integral part of the journey on second country – Nepal and only realised it when i already on my way to the airport. LOL. but that’s the beauty of traveling anyway with dozen of story to tell.

Arriving in the airport, i was surprised that another friend are visiting us! Cheering us up for a journey that made us question ourselves many times –> ” why did we do this to ourselves?” :”D We bid our good bye and went into our first flight was from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur. Oh dear KL, A city that will always have special space in my heart. 🙂 It was a short transit but not bad i could at least taste a bit of Malaysia’s delicacy – Yong Tau Fu and my friend could finish her work over the ocean. 😛

The second flight ( Kuala Lumpur – Amritsar) wass a bit different where the language started to shift to a foreign language for me and my friends. Btw, that was the first time i took AirAsiaX. We got lucky in the seating arrangement where 3 of us could sit in the silent area. It’s quite enjoyable with these lovely ladies in which somehow made us bought a lot of food? haha.

With happy heart, full tummy, and tired body, we landed in AMRITSAR. it was quite late at night and the jet lag start to hit us yet we still have to clear our immigration. Remember the e-visa that i told you about? they are going to check it over here so please make sure it’s ready. You will also need to fill your arrival card and you are good to queue. It will be handy to have your own pen as it wasn’t provided thankfully i have mine covered within my traveling pouch.

Once you got all covered, they have a dedicated line for e-visa. The process was quite seamless is just that somehow things went slower than my expectation or maybe just because i was tired. i finished last and my other 2 friends had taken our baggage. Now, another challenge we need to find our driver. The airport provide a good internet connection thankfully so this wasn’t a big issue. What amazed us was the foreign kind of environment.

We walked out of the airport, at that time it was still under development so perhaps now it’s better, and we were puzzled. I can’t really describe it with words but it was something that will make you feel lost. Then there goes the famous BAJAJ and all the honking and India beautiful hustle bustle. 😉 We are ready to start the trip! Here we come India!

Sri Guru Ram Das Ji International Airport – from outside at night
Hi Amritsar!

ps. i am taking a little time here to pray for everyone’s well being wherever you are amid the coronavirus pandemic with specific regards to India. A beautiful country which has given me amazing experience. stay safe.

Wish everything goes well and we could travel as we used to be.

Cheers!

Triana Mustika Rukmi