Indonesia Day 4 - Visiting Papa

This is the day where we decided before we left US that we are not to do ANYTHING else before we visit dad's grave. I got a chance to spend a few days when he was still alive back in 1998 and sadly it was the last time I got to see her; none of sisters were there when he closed his eyes.

It was a long drive from Sentul to Bekasi. The roads were so narrow and traffic was ridiculously heavy. We came to Bekasi with no directions but our memories. Alas, my memory was not so great. We started up with finding the old house where my dad used to live. After stopping a couple of times, we finally found it. The house did not look the same. I remember there were still a lot of untouched ground filled with trees and now they have been replaced with more houses. I guess it's been 13 years.

There was a moment where the traffic was so backed up that no motor vehicle could move and we were dead stop, caught on a train track as the horns hounding, alarming us to get the hell away from the tracks but we couldn't really move because no one else could move. We all thought we were going to die, except for our driver. We missed the train by a hair and I've never been so thankful to be alive that day. Here's the typical (not an exaggeration by the way) of train transportation in Indonesia captured wonderfully by this guy Tommy on his blog.

And of course Treyton was not impacted by this episode as he was really enjoying his krupuk and the fact he is not enforced to use his seat belt.

Then we asked the neighbor where we could find the head of the town. Unfortunately he wasn't there but asked where the town's graveyard. After stopping a couple of times we found the graveyard. We checked in at the front desk asking a gentleman for their records. Mind you, their way of recording is pen and paper. There were stacked of notebooks after notebooks of the deceased's lot. My mom and I went through a few books, again, relying on my memories and we finally found it. Paid the guy a couple of rupiahs and thanking him for his help (not so much but whatever).

After we bought some fragrant flowers we preceded to the lot. It was stinking hot and as soon as we got off the van, a few man with sickles, scissors, all kinds of hand tools for grooming purposes circled us. Some helped with finding the graveyard. What we learned, if we don't pay the bi-annual fee of the grave, after being left un-visited, the grave will be dug up and burnt to allow room for a new deceased. We had a hard time finding our dad's grave. The record, as expected, was not recorded accurately. When one of the guys showed us a burnt grave, we all about died. We didn't give up and kept searching and finally found his grave, well groomed, well taken care of. The person who still comes and visits him on a regular basis is still a mystery. We spent a good amount of time here crying and praying. It was a very emotional time.

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It was a long day with a lot going on that day. The traffic, the near death experience, the getting lost because we didn't know where we're going, the shock of almost thinking that our dad's grave had been burnt, the crying, the praying -- all that really exhaust our energy so we decided to get something to eat.

We stopped at this restaurant that's filled with many bungalows that sit on top of a pond full of fish which are the fish that we are about to enjoy. Treyton had a great time feeding the fish as I sipped 3 bottles of Teh Botol (a soda to Americans) and two whole fresh coconut drinks.


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Other gubug (bungalows) across from us

Washing hands before eating


Watercrest with fermented soybeans and chili peppers in sour sauce. Behind it is fried tempeh and tofu

Rice, a staple to Indonesian people

Sayur Lodeh, tamarind and chicken broth with long beans, peanuts, corn and chayote. Very refreshing on a hot day.

One of the fish that Treyton fed earlier is now being fed to us.

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We ended up going to one of the biggest malls in Bogor. Mom and Ria had to stop at a travel's agent to buy tickets to Bali and Jogja. This is when we learned that Japan had been hit by the recent devastating Tsunami. We were only 6 hours away from the Tsunami! Scary! We waited forever for them to decide on the tickets.