Asia Trip · Aviation · South Asia · Trip Report · Vacation

#1655 – 2015 Fall Trip to India (Part VI: Back to Europe)

ENGLISH

Previous post on the 2015 Fall Trip to India series:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.
3. Part III: Indian Train Trip.
4. Part IV: Tamil Nadu.
5. Part V: The Wedding.

Previously on 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko and his friends went to India to attend a wedding. After spending two days in Chennai and seven more days in the heart of Tamil Nadu, it was time to call this trip an end and go back to real life Europe.

***

As I said in the Part I post, we bought our return tickets from Air France’s website. While our departure involved an airline that was not Air France nor a SkyTeam member, Etihad Airways, our returning flights were much closer related to SkyTeam. We were flying three sectors on this way back to Europe btw: Coimbatore – Mumbai – Paris CDG – Amsterdam, like this:

The flight route map. Map created with gcmap.com

Yes, it was quite a long journey. But I loved it! 😀

***

9W 424 (Coimbatore – Mumbai)

Jet Airways Logo

Flight: Jet Airways 9W 424
Equipment: Boeing 737-800 reg VT-JFN
ATD: 20:31 IST (Runway 05 of CJB)
ATA: 22:05 IST (Runway 27 of BOM)

Coimbatore Airport was still like how it was last year, nothing much had changed. Even the small cafe where we bought some snacks for breakfast last year was also still there, haha 😆 . Long story short, we checked-in (and made sure that our luggages had been tagged all the way to Amsterdam), passed the security check (where the officer was so chatty and mentioned that the Netherlands was a beautiful country 😛 ), used the free internet access for 20ish minutes, and waited for our flight. The free internet access enabled me to check our plane today. It turned out to be one of Jet Airways’ younger fleet: a 2 years old Boeing 737-800 reg VT-JFN.

Fast forward, we boarded VT-JFN which was fitted with Boeing’s Sky Interior (loved it!) and settled on our seats. There was no IFE, however, so the safety demo was performed manually. We took off smoothly from runway 05 of Coimbatore Airport. As it was an evening flight, the LED mood lighting was set in blue today. To me it was the perfect balance because it was not too bright (so the passengers could relax) while at the same time not too dark (as it was just a shortish domestic flight so they might not want to get asleep anyway).

On board Jet Airways' Boeing 737-800 reg VT-JFN with Sky Interior. The mood lighting was on
On board Jet Airways’ Boeing 737-800 reg VT-JFN with Sky Interior. The mood lighting was turned on

About 30 minutes into the flight, the complimentary meal service was started. The options were very Indian btw: veg or non-veg (read: vegetarian or non-vegetarian). Well, obviously I chose the non-vegetarian one, haha 😆 . It turned out to be a good choice because it was not too spicy while the vegetarian one was more spicy. For the drink, I asked for a “tea” to which the flight attendant replied “I’m sorry Sir, we don’t have green tea but we have normal tea instead. Is it good for you?“. And I was like “Yeah” (because normal tea was what I asked for, not green tea, even though had they had green tea I would have prefered that instead indeed, lol 😆 ).

The non-vegetarian service on board flight 9W 424. It was quite good
The non-vegetarian complimentary meal service on board Jet Airways’ flight 9W 424. It was good

Anyway, the rest of the flight was rather uneventful because of the non-existence of IFE on board. At 22:05, we landed at runway 27 of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Here is the landing video:

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA)

CSIA

VT-JFN was parked at the domestic terminal of CSIA and because we had an international connecting flight, we took the shuttle bus service to the international terminal. The service was quite unique because the shuttle bus moved INSIDE the airport ramp! But it came with a price though: there was a long security line before boarding the bus. But it was worth it (to me) because it was so cool to ride a bus INSIDE an airport! I mean, we got to see a lot of different planes in the airport, namely Air India’s Boeing 747-400; and we had to drive around runway 14 too! Super coool!! 😀 It was basically like a free airport tour!! 😀

A few days prior, my friend spotted a photo of CSIA and it looked super nice. But I was suspicious and said it was probably a shot of a lounge there or something because it looked very fancy and elegant! But boy oh boy, how I was soo wrong. Big time!! I have to say now that the international terminal building of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is the MOST BEAUTIFUL airport terminal building I have ever been to in my life!! It is just SOO PRETTY!!!

The super beautiful Mumbai Airport
The entrance of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

I was constantly wowed throughout our 2.5ish hours of transit there! It was just so beautiful, even the common areas looked like lounges! Seriously!! WOW!! :shocked:

However, the immigration check was extremely busy though and we had to wait for about half an hour before finally cleared. It kinda reminded me of our return flight from Delhi to Paris earlier this year too in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. We decided to sit in a bar where we planned to spend our last Rupee bills. But then we were shocked that the price for a small bottle of beer was about €10! So I decided that I could wait until I was back in Europe for beer, and got a cola instead which I could afford with my last Rs 60 bills, lol 😆 .

The departure gate of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
The departure gate of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

We were not all travelling together to go back to Europe. One of us was returning to Copenhagen with Lufthansa’s flight via Munich which was scheduled to leave about one hour before our flight to Paris. At her flight’s boarding time, we said goodbye at her departure gate; and she boarded her Lufthansa’s Airbus A330-300 flight. About one hour later, it was our turn to board our AF 217 flight to Paris.

AF 217 (Mumbai – Paris Charles De Gaulle)

AF Logo

Flight: Air France AF 217
Equipment: Airbus A330-200 reg F-GZCI
ATD: 02:38 IST (Runway 27 of BOM)
ATA: 07:13 CET (Runway 26L of CDG)

As you know, we were very lucky that we got upgraded to Premium Economy on this flight. A complete self-standing trip report of this flight has been published awhile ago.

Upgraded to premium economy!
Upgraded to premium economy!

Shortly after take-off from runway 27 of Mumbai’s CSIA, a light snack service was served. From thereon, I was able to sleep quite well. I got up about 1.5 hours before landing, just in time for the breakfast service. At 07:13 local time, we landed smoothly at runway 26L of Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport, my seventh time this year landing there, lol 😆 . Here is the landing video nevertheless 😛 :

KL 1230 (Paris Charles de Gaulle – Amsterdam)

KL Logo

Flight: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL 1230
Equipment: Boeing 737-800 reg PH-BXN
ATD: 10:37 CET (Runway 27L of CDG)
ATA: 11:28 CET (Runway 18C of AMS)

As it was my sixth time this year transferring in Paris Charles de Gaulle ( 😆 ), there is not much more to say. So I’ll immediately get to our last flight of the trip.

When making the reservation, there was actually an option for an earlier connecting Paris – Amsterdam flight with Air France. However, I decided to choose this specific flight because, at the time of booking, it was indicated that this flight would be operated with a KLM’s Boeing 737-900, a super rare bird out there. In the website until our departure to India, there was no changes at all so I was quite sure I would get to fly with a Boeing 737-900! So I was very surprised while checking Flightradar24 that flight KL 1229 was operated with PH-BXN, a Boeing 737-800!! Damn! They changed the airplane type last minute! 😦 As a result, our booked seat of 16A and 16B were no longer the emergency seats (which we were able to reserve free of charge 😛 )!

On board KLM's Boeing 737-800 reg PH-BXN
On board KLM’s Boeing 737-800 reg PH-BXN

At first we were happy that seat 16C was empty. But then it turned out that a tall big French guy, who was sitting on 15C, an emergency seat, did not speak any English at all so the flight attendant asked him to move to seat 16C during take-off and landing. This was because in case an emergency occurred, passengers sitting on the emergency seats should be able to follow their instruction, which would be in English. Damn 😦 . I thought I did not jynx it when I said to my friend I was glad seat 16C was empty after boarding was completed; but I was wrong. I jynxed it 😆

Anyway, it was a routine 50 minutes flight between Paris and Amsterdam. At 11:28 we landed smoothly at runway 18C of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Here is the landing video:

And here, my 10 day trip to India this fall officially ended.

THE END.

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 Fall Trip to India:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.
3. Part III: Indian Train Trip.
4. Part IV: Tamil Nadu.
5. Part V: The Wedding.

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko dan teman-temannya pergi ke India dalam rangka menghadiri sebuah pesta pernikahan. Setelah menghabiskan dua hari di Chennai dan tujuh hari lainnya di jantung Tamil Nadu, sudah saatnya untuk mereka mengakhiri perjalanan ini dan kembali ke kehidupan nyata Eropa.

***

Seperti yang aku sebutkan di posting Bagian I, kami membeli tiket pp kami di website-nya Air France. Jika penerbangan keberangkatan kami melibatkan sebuah maskapai selain Air France dan bukan anggota SkyTeam, penerbangan kembali kami lebih berhubungan dengan SkyTeam. Kami terbang di sebanyak tiga sektor kali ini btw: Coimbatore – Mumbai – Paris CDG – Amsterdam, kayak begini lah:

Peta rute penerbangan ini. Peta dibuat dengan gcmap.com

Ya, rute penerbangan yang cukup panjang memang. Tetapi aku sukaa! 😀

***

9W 424 (Coimbatore – Mumbai)

Jet Airways Logo

Penerbangan: Jet Airways 9W 424
Pesawat: Boeing 737-800 reg VT-JFN
ATD: 20:31 IST (Runway 05 of CJB)
ATA: 22:05 IST (Runway 27 of BOM)

Bandara Coimbatore masih kurang lebih sama seperti tahun lalu, tidak banyak yang berubah. Bahkan toko kecil dimana tahun lalu kami membeli snack untuk sarapan masih ada loh, haha 😆 . Singkat cerita, kami check-in (dan memastikan bahwa bagasi kami langsung di-tag ke Amsterdam), melewati pemeriksaan sekuriti (yang mana petugasnya suka ngobrol dan berkata bahwa Belanda adalah negeri yang indah 😛 ), menggunakan layanan internet gratisnya selama 20an menit, dan menunggu penerbangan kami. Layanan internet gratisnya memungkinkanku untuk mengecek pesawat kami hari ini. Ternyata adalah salah satu armada termudanya Jet Airways: sebuah Boeing 737-800 berumur 2 tahun beregistrasi VT-JFN.

Singkat cerita, kami menaiki VT-JFN yang dilengkapi dengan Boeing Sky Interior (aku suka banget!) dan duduk di kursi kami. Sayangnya pesawatnya tidak dilengkapi dengan IFE sehingga peragaan keselamatannya dilakukan manual. Kami lepas landas dengan mulus dari landasan pacu 05 Bandara Coimbatore. Karena penerbangan malam, mood lighting-nya disetel ke warna biru hari ini. Untukku ini adalah setting yang amat pas karena tidak terlalu terang (sehingga penumpang bisa beristirahat) tetapi juga tidak gelap (karena hanyalah penerbangan domestik jarak agak dekat sehingga penumpang pun tidak mau tertidur terlalu lelap).

On board Jet Airways' Boeing 737-800 reg VT-JFN with Sky Interior. The mood lighting was on
Di dalam Boeing 737-800 milik Jet Airways dengan registrasi VT-JFN dengan Sky Interior. Mood lighting-nya dinyalakan.

Sekitar 30 menit setelah lepas landas, layanan makan malam dibagikan. Pilihannya India banget deh: veg atau non-veg (baca: vegetarian atau non-vegetarian). Jelas dong ya aku memilih yang non-vegetarian, haha 😆 . Ternyata ini adalah pilihan yang tepat karena tidak terlalu pedas sementara kata temanku pilihan vegetariannya pedas. Untuk minum, aku meminta segelas “teh” yang kemudian pramugaranya menjawab dengan “Maaf Pak, kami tidak memiliki teh hijau tetapi kami memiliki teh biasa. Apakah ini tidak apa-apa?” (dalam bahasa Inggris tentunya). Dan aku jawab “Iya” (padahal kan aku memang meminta teh biasa ya bukan teh hijau, walaupun kalau mereka memiliki teh hijau memang aku bakal lebih memilih teh hijau sih, huahaha 😆 ).

The non-vegetarian service on board flight 9W 424. It was quite good
Layanan makanan non-vegetarian di dalam penerbangan 9W 424-nya Jet Airways. Rasa makanannnya lumayan enak loh.

Anyway, sisa penerbangannya berlangsung biasa saja karena tidak ada IFE di pesawatnya. Jam 22:05, kami mendarat di landasan pacu 27 Bandara Internasional Chhatrapati Shivaji di Mumbai. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Bandara Internasional Chhatrapati Shivaji (CSIA)

CSIA

VT-JFN diparkir di terminal domestiknya CSIA dan karena penerbangan lanjutan kami adalah penerbangan internasional, kami menaiki layanan shuttle bus ke terminal internasional. Dan layanan ini unik lho karena rute busnya adalah DI DALAM area bandaranya! Tetapi sebagai akibatnya kami harus melewati pemeriksaan sekuriti dulu sih sebelum naik busnya. Tetapi nggak apa-apa dong dan memang setimpal kok (untukku) karena kan keren banget gitu naik bus DI DALAM bandara! Maksudku, aku jadi bisa melihat banyak pesawat disana, termasuk Boeing 747-400nya Air India; dan kami harus memutari ujung landasan pacu 14 juga! Keren banget dah!! 😀 Pada dasarnya seperti layanan tur bandara gratis gitu deh!! 😀

Ceritanya beberapa hari sebelumnya, temanku melihat sebuah foto CSIA dan dari foto itu bandaranya nampak keren. Awalnya aku ragu dan menduga bahwa yang difoto mungkin sebuah lounge di dalam bandaranya karena kok nampak wah dan elegan gitu! Dan ternyata oh ternyata, aku salah. Salah besar malahan!! Harus aku bilang sekarang bahwa terminal internasional Bandara Internasional Chhatrapati Shivaji di Mumbai adalah gedung terminal bandara PALING INDAH yang pernah aku lihat seumur hidup!! CANTIK BANGET!!!

The super beautiful Mumbai Airport
Pintu masuk Bandara Internasional Chhatrapati Shivaji di Mumbai

Aku terus-terusan terpana di masa transitku 2,5 jam disana! Indah banget, bahkan area untuk umumnya nampak seperti di dalam lounge loh! WOW!! :shocked:

Namun, antrian di pemeriksaan imigrasinya panjang banget dan kami harus menunggu sekitar setengah jam sebelum dilayani. Agak mengingatkanku akan penerbangan kembaliku dari Delhi ke Paris awal tahun ini sih di Bandara Internasional Indira Gandhi di New Delhi. Kami memutuskan untuk menunggu di sebuah bar untuk sekalian menghabiskan sisa uang Rupee kami. Tetapi kami kemudian terkejut bahwa harga sebotol bir kecil sekitar €10 dong! Ih, aku mah mending menunggu sampai kembali di Eropa aja deh untuk bir, dan aku memesan cola aja yang bisa aku beli dengan lembaran uang kertas Rs 60 terakhirku, haha 😆 .

The departure gate of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Area keberangkatan Bandara Internasional Chhatrapati Shivaji

Kami tidak kembali ke Eropa di penerbangan yang sama. Salah seorang temanku kembali ke Kopenhagen dengan penerbangannya Lufthansa melalui Munich yang dijadwalkan berangkat satu jam sebelum penerbanganku ke Paris. Di waktu penerbangannya boarding, kami berpisah, dan ia menaiki pesawat Airbus A330-300 milik Lufthansanya. Sekitar sejam kemudian, adalah waktu kami untuk menaiki penerbangan AF 217 ke Paris.

AF 217 (Mumbai – Paris Charles De Gaulle)

AF Logo

Penerbangan: Air France AF 217
Pesawat: Airbus A330-200 reg F-GZCI
ATD: 02:38 IST (Runway 27 of BOM)
ATA: 07:13 CET (Runway 26L of CDG)

Seperti yang sudah pada tahu, beruntung sekali kami di-upgrade ke kelas Ekonomi Premium di penerbangan ini. Sebuah posting trip report penerbangan ini sudah aku publikasikan beberapa waktu lalu.

Upgraded to premium economy!
Di-upgrade ke ekonomi premium!

Tidak lama setelah lepas landas dari landasan pacu 27 Bandara CSIA, layanan snack ringan diberikan. Setelahnya, aku bisa tidur cukup nyenyak. Aku bangun sekitar 1,5 jam sebelum mendarat, tepat sebelum layanan sarapan diberikan. Jam 07:13 waktu setempat, kami mendarat dengan mulus di landasan pacu 26L Bandara Paris Charles De Gaulle, ketujuh kalinya aku mendarat di bandara ini tahun ini, haha 😆 . Berikut ini video pendaratannya 😛 :

KL 1230 (Paris Charles de Gaulle – Amsterdam)

KL Logo

Penerbangan: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KL 1230
Pesawat: Boeing 737-800 reg PH-BXN
ATD: 10:37 CET (Runway 27L of CDG)
ATA: 11:28 CET (Runway 18C of AMS)

Karena ini adalah kali keenam tahun ini aku transit di Paris Charles de Gaulle ( 😆 ), tidak ada banyak lagi yang bisa aku ceritakan. Jadi langsung aja aku menceritakan penerbangan terakhirku di perjalanan ini yah.

Ketika membuat reservasinya, sebenarnya ada pilihan untuk penerbangan lanjutan Paris – Amsterdam yang lebih awal dengan Air France. Namun aku memutuskan untuk memilih penerbangan ini karena, waktu itu, diindikasikan penerbangan ini akan dioperasikan dengan Boeing 737-900nya KLM, pesawat yang jarang ada kan. Di website-nya sampai keberangkatan kami ke India, tidak ada perubahan sehingga aku cukup yakin aku akan terbang dengan Boeing 737-900! Jadi aku merasa amat kaget ketika melihat di Flightradar 24 bahwa penerbangan KL 1229 hari itu dioperasikan dengan pesawat PH-BXN, sebuah Boeing 737-800!! Sial! Mereka mengubah pesawatnya last minute! 😦 Sebagai akibatnya, kursi 16A dan 16B yang sudah kami pesan sebelumnya bukan lagi kursi emergency deh (yang bisa kami pesan gratis loh 😛 )!

On board KLM's Boeing 737-800 reg PH-BXN
Di dalam Boeing 737-800nya KLM registrasi PH-BXN

Awalnya kami senang kursi 16C kosong. Tetapi kemudian ternyata mas-mas orang Prancis yang tinggi dan besar, yang duduk di kursi emergency 15C, tidak bisa bahasa Inggris dong sehingga pramugaranya memintanya pindah ke 16C di waktu lepas landas dan mendarat. Ini dikarenakan andaikata situasi darurat terjadi, penumpang yang duduk di kursi darurat harus bisa mengikuti instruksi awak kabinnya, yang mana dalam bahasa Inggris. Sial 😦 . Awalnya aku kira aku tidak men-jynx-nya ketika aku berkata ke temanku aku senang kursi 16C kosong setelah boarding selesai; tetapi aku salah. Aku tetap men-jynx-nya ternyata 😆

Anyway, ini adalah penerbangan rutin 50 menit di antara Paris dan Amsterdam. Jam 11:28 kami mendarat mulus di landasan pacu 18C Bandara Amsterdam Schiphol. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Dan disini, perjalanan 10 hari ke Indiaku musim gugur ini resmi berakhir.

SELESAI.

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Asia Trip · South Asia · Vacation

#1652 – 2015 Fall Trip to India (Part V: The Wedding)

ENGLISH

Previous post on the 2015 Fall Trip to India series:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.
3. Part III: Indian Train Trip.
4. Part IV: Tamil Nadu.

Previously on 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko and his friends went to India to attend a wedding. After arriving in Chennai and spending two full days there, they took the Shatabdi Express to go to the heart of Tamil Nadu, where the wedding would take place.

And this post is all about the wedding 🙂 .

***

First of all, let me tell you that an Indian wedding is probably one of the most complex weddings in the world as in there are a lot of ceremonies that are involved. In our friends’ case, it would be so many that before the trip, our friends sent us (people from the Netherlands 😛 ) a 22 pages document of all the ceremonies’ description! 😆 In total, the wedding took four days to complete (well, even one week if we count the engagement party).

So this post will be just a brief summary of all of those, in the ceremonies that we attended (we did not need to attend all of them (thankfully since some started really early in the morning, lol!)).

Mehndi Ceremony

This ceremony was only for the ladies and was one where they applied mehndi paste onto the skin in rich design to decorate the body. In short, it looked like a type of temporary tattoo, even though it was not really a tattoo. Apparently it was also good to prevent stress during the wedding and also to cool the body down (well, it was so hot in India so this last feature must have been quite useful).

Mehndi Ceremony
Mehndi Ceremony

Too bad I did not get the chance to get one too because, to be honest, it looked kinda cool 😛 . *don’t judge . Btw, this was held three days before the wedding and was the first ceremony which we attended. Okay, we (the guys) did not really attend it though since it was specifically prepared for the ladies. So we came there later when the ceremony was almost over and it was almost time for lunch 😛 .

Nallangu Ceremony

In short, it was a ceremony to prepare the groom and the bride for the wedding. The guests applied turmeric paste to the groom’s and bride’s faces, rice was sprinkled onto them, and flowers and leaves were exchanged between the guests and the groom and bride. Of course I took part as well because it looked fun 😛 . “Weird” stuffs were also put to the groom and bride. For instance, onion necklace, flower necklace, peanut necklace, candies necklace, a “crown” made from leaves, etc (all at once!).

At the Nallangu ceremony
At the Nallangu ceremony

At first we thought there was some meaning behind it, for instance like to wish them to never be hungry or something. But later on during lunch break our Indian friend described it as a ceremony to make the groom and bride looked ugly to make all the envy go away.  Oh, okay, haha…

Sangeeth Ceremony

When one thinks of an Indian movie, I bet most people would associate it with the singing and the dancing.  Well, it is because the Indians do love singing and dancing!! This was highlighted during this Sangeeth Ceremony.

It was held on the night before the reception where many people performed. From this cute girl:

A little girl dancing
A little girl dancing

to these ladies:

The ladies
The ladies

and this girl

A girl dancing
A girl dancing

and this group of a mother and her three daughters:

A mother and her three daugthers performing
A mother and her three daugthers performing

and the boys as well:

The boys participated as well
The boys participated as well

Our Indian friend even “forced” us to perform as well. The day before, she arranged dance teachers for us to sing along an Indian song (which I had never heard of before, lol). I was shocked, lol, but took part anyway because it was fun! 😀 At one point they taught us a move and we were so bad and they were like “Please never do that ever again“, lol 😆 .

A proof that I also danced
A proof that I also participated, it was video-taped

During the ceremony, we also organized a surprise treasure hunt game to the groom and the bride (thankfully the organizer was so willing to cooperate with our idea 😛 ).

The Reception

Before the reception, they took us to a small Ganesh temple nearby the wedding venue where the groom would arrive, pray, and then we all walked to the venue. And it was by no means low-key; music was played loudly and surely we were drawing attention from all the people, lol 😆 .

Wedding selfie
Wedding selfie

Anyway, the reception was similar to wedding receptions everywhere else though where people took photos with the groom and the bride and congratulated them.

The Wedding

Due to time constraint, the order in our friends’ wedding was flipped where the wedding itself was actually the last of all the series of ceremonies they had. It was a very religious (Hindu) ceremony which lasted for about two and a half hour where a few monks from the Sangameswarar Temple led the prayers.

Blessing the newlyweds
Blessing the newlyweds

At one point the guests were given yellow rice to be thrown towards the groom and the bride as a way of blessing them 🙂 . Well, after the wedding we also got the chance to do that too though by going up to the stage and, well, sprinkled yellow rice onto them. After the wedding, the groom and the bride were asked to play some traditional Indian wedding games which looked quite fun too 😛 .

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– First time with Jet Airways
– Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
Upgraded to Premium Economy
– Back in the Netherlands

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 Fall Trip to India:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.
3. Part III: Indian Train Trip.
4. Part IV: Tamil Nadu.

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko dan teman-temannya pergi ke India untuk menghadiri sebuah pesta pernikahan. Setelah tiba di Chennai dan menghabiskan dua hari disana, mereka menaiki kereta Shatabdi Express untuk pergi ke jantung Tamil Nadu, dimana pernikahannya akan berlangsung.

Dan posting ini akan berisi tentang pernikahannya 🙂 .

***

Pertama-tama, harus aku bilang bahwa pernikahan India mungkin adalah satu dari pernikahan paling kompleks di dunia deh dalam hal banyaknya upacara yang harus dilakukan. Dalam kasusnya teman kami, saking banyaknya sampai-sampai sebelum berangkat, mereka mengirimi kami (para undangan dari Belanda maksudnya 😛 ) sebuah dokumen sepanjang 22 halaman berisi deskripsi semua upacaranya! 😆 Totalnya, pernikahannya memakan waktu empat hari sampai selesai (eh, seminggu ding kalau pesta pertunangannya juga dihitung).

Jadi, posting ini akan berisi ringkasan dari upacara-upacara tersebut, di upacara yang kami hadiri tentunya (kami tidak perlu menghadiri semuanya (untungnya, soalnya beberapa dimulai pagi bener euy, haha!)).

Upacara Mehndi

Upacara ini hanya untuk para wanita saja dimana mereka menorehkan pasta mehndi ke kulit dengan disain yang kaya untuk mendekorasi tubuh. Singkatnya, ini semacam tato temporer gitu, walaupun sebenarnya bukan tato juga sih. Ternyata, pasta mehndi ini juga berfungsi untuk mencegah stress di hari pernikahannya dan juga untuk mendinginkan badan (yah, waktu itu di India mah panas banget jadi kegunaan ini berguna banget pastinya ya).

Mehndi Ceremony
Upacara Mehndi

Sayangnya aku tidak berkesempatan untuk mendapatkannya juga sih padahal kan nampak keren gitu motifnya 😛 . *dilarang men-judge. Btw, ini dilaksanakan tiga hari sebelum hari pernikahannya dan adalah upacara pertama yang kami hadiri. Oke, kami (yang laki-laki) tidak benar-benar menghadirinya sih karena upacaranya hanya secara spesifik dipersiapkan untuk para perempuan. Jadilah kami datang kesana ketika upacaranya nyaris selesai dan sudah hampir waktu makan siang 😛 .

Upacara Nallangu

Secara singkat, upacara ini adalah untuk mempersiapkan mempelai pria dan wanita untuk pernikahannya. Para undangan menorehkan pasta dari kunyit ke muka mereka, menaburi mereka dengan beras, dan memberikan bunga dan daun kepada mereka. Tentu saja aku ikutan dong karena kan nampak seru ya 😛 . Barang-barang “aneh” juga dipakaikan di kedua mempelai. Misalnya saja, kalung dari bawang bombay, kalung bunga, kalung dari kacang, kalung dari permen, “mahkota” yang terbuat dari daun, dll (semuanya pada saat yang sama!).

At the Nallangu ceremony
Di upacara Nallangu

Awalnya kami kira barang-barang itu bermakna tertentu, misalnya mungkin untuk mendoakan agar mereka tidak akan pernah kelaparan atau gimana gitu. Tetapi kemudian ketika makan siang teman India kami menceritakan bahwa upacara ini adalah untuk membuat mempelai pria dan wanitanya nampak buruk rupa agar tidak ada kecemburuan di para undangan. Oh, oke, haha…

Upacara Sangeeth

Jika seseorang mendengar istilah “film India”, aku yakin sebagian besar langsung mengasosiasikannya dengan nyanyi-nyanyian dan, terutama, joget-joget Indianya kan ya. Ya, ini semua ternyata karena memang orang India itu suka nyanyi dan joget!! Ini nampak sekali di upacara Sangeeth ini.

Upacara ini diadakan semalam sebelumnya dimana banyak yang tampil loh. Dimulai dengan gadis kecil ini:

A little girl dancing
Gadis kecil menari

sampai para wanita ini:

The ladies
Para wanita

dan gadis ini

A girl dancing
Seorang gadis menari

dan satu grup ibu dengan tiga anak perempuannya ini:

A mother and her three daugthers performing
Seorang ibu dengan tiga anak perempuannya tampil

dan laki-lakinya juga:

The boys participated as well
Beberapa anak laki-laki tampil juga

Dan teman India kami juga “memaksa” kami untuk tampil juga loh. Sehari sebelumnya, ia sampai menyiapkan dua instruktur tari untuk mengajari kami gerakan-gerakan mengikuti sebuah lagu India (yang mana aku nggak pernah dengar sebelumnya, haha). Aku terkejut dong, haha, tetapi ikutan juga sih akhirnya soalnya kan seru! 😀 Di satu waktu mereka mengajari kami sebuah gerakan dan kami payah banget sampai-sampai mereka “Jangan pernah melakukan gerakan itu lagi seumur hidup yah“, haha 😆 .

A proof that I also danced
Bukti bahwa aku ikutan juga, divideo loh ternyata

Di upacara ini, kami juga mengadakan sebuah acara kejutan bagi kedua mempelai yaitu sebuah game treasure hunt (untungnya pelaksana acaranya mau menerima ide kami ini 😛 ).

Resepsi

Sebelum resepsi dimulai, mereka membawa kami ke sebuah kuil Ganesha di dekat gedung pernikahan dimana mempelai pria akan datang kesana, berdoa ke Ganesha, dan kami semua berjalan kaki beriringan ke gedung pernikahannya. Dan acara jalan kaki ini sama sekali tidak tenang-tenang aja loh; musik dimainkan dengan keras sehingga kami jelas menarik perhatian banget dah, hahaha 😆 .

Wedding selfie
Wedding selfie

Anyway, resepsinya sendiri hampir sama seperti resepsi-resepsi pernikahan pada umumnya dimana para undangan berfoto-foto dengan kedua mempelai dan menyelamati mereka.

Pernikahan

Karena keterbatasan waktu, urutan di acara pernikahan teman ini agak dibalik dimana acara pernikahannya sendiri justru merupakan acara terakhir di rangkaian upacara yang mereka adakan. Ini adalah sebuah upacara yang religius (mengikuti tata cara Hindu) yang berlangsung selama sekitar dua setengah jam dimana ada beberapa biksu dari Kuil Sangameswarar yang memimpin ritual doanya.

Blessing the newlyweds
Memberkati pengantin baru

Di satu waktu, para undangan diberikan beras kuning yang kemudian dilemparkan ke arah mempelai sebagai simbol pemberkatan 🙂 . Yah, setelahnya sebenarnya ada kesempatannya lagi sih dengan cara naik ke atas panggung dan menaburi mereka dengan beras kuning. Setelah pernikahan selesai, mempelai pria dan wanita diminta untuk memainkan beberapa permainan tradisional India untuk pengantin baru yang mana nampak cukup seru 😛 .

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Pertama kali terbang dengan Jet Airways
– Bandara Internasional Chhatrapati Shivaji di Mumbai
Di-upgrade ke Ekonomi Premium
– Kembali di Belanda

Asia Trip · South Asia · Vacation

#1650 – 2015 Fall Trip to India (Part IV: Tamil Nadu)

ENGLISH

Previous post on the 2015 Fall Trip to India series:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.
3. Part III: Indian Train Trip.

Previously on 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko and his friends went to India to attend a wedding. After arriving in Chennai and spending two full days there, they took the Shatabdi Express to go to the heart of Tamil Nadu, where the wedding would take place.

***

I split the story of our time in our friend’s village for the wedding into two posts: one is fully dedicated to the wedding and the other is for the other places/activities that we visited/did while we were there. I will start with the latter with this post.

The Sangameswarar Temple and the Holy Elephant

We went to the Sangameswarar Temple again. Yes, “again” because last year we also visited this big temple near our Indian friend’s house. Just like last year, our friend’s parents took us there and showed us how to pray in a Hindu temple. It was more or less the same as what we did last year, except that this time we had it during the day 😀 .

 

The Sangameswarar Temple
The Sangameswarar Temple

There was one thing that was different this time though.

Being a big and important temple in the region, there was a holy elephant residing in the temple. Yes, not just any elephant, he was THE holy elephant 😆 .

Last year, while we were there, the elephant was taking an annual leave from his duty and was on vacation (seriously) so we did not get the chance to meet him. But this year though, he was not vacationing during our visit! Yay!! 😀

We met the holy elephant after praying at the temple. We had to give out a small amount (Rs 10) to the elephant, who would take the bill with his trunk and then bless us with his trunk. We were allowed to take pictures while the elephant were blessing us (thanks to our friend’s parents who were devoted members of the temple so they knew the elephant guy).

Of course I got blessed too! 😀 And now I understand why the holy elephant was holy. He was, indeed, not just an elephant. He was so smart! While getting blessed, I gave my camera to my friend to take a picture of the blessing, but then she did not get a good shot of it. The elephant, somehow, knew it and he kept blessing me until we got a good shot of the blessing! Wow!!! :shocked: As the result in the end, I got “blessed” about 8 or 9 times, haha 😆 .

Getting blessed by the holy elephant
Getting blessed by the holy elephant

But I guess being holy had its disadvantage too. So my friends’ parents would want to serve some offerings (some types of fruits) to the elephant. However, the elephant guy said no because, well umm, the holy elephant got a diabetes because of all the offerings he got in the past. 😅😅😅😅😅

😐

Okay, so it probably makes sense that diabetes can occur to some forms of life other than humans too…

Coimbatore

For now, let us fast forward to the last day of our Fall Trip to India this year.

To go back to Europe, we would start by flying from the city of Coimbatore to Mumbai on a Jet Airways’ domestic flight. As this flight was scheduled to leave in the evening and we had to put some things into our itinerary for the day, we decided to rent a car and spend a day in Coimbatore before going to the airport.

At first we were thinking about visiting a temple there. But then we changed our mind and decided to just take it easy today by going to a mall, haha 😆 . For this, we chose the Brookefields mall because there was a cinema there.

Deal or No Deal
Deal or No Deal

However, it turned out that none of the movie was possible for us to watch so we dropped the idea. Instead, we just indulged ourselves in: playing some games at a game center (my favorite was the Deal or No Deal game), having some coffee at a cafe, and, my favorite this one was, going to a salon where I got an Indian head massage! Haha 😆

The Food

Outside of the wedding, we had most our meals at our hotel which provided good meals. Wow, I loved all the food they provided even though mostly were frying-based food so it was not super healthy, haha 😆 .

Another memorable restaurant that we visited was a restaurant which we also visited last year which was my friend’s brother’s favorite restaurant in Erode, haha 😆 . The food was great, just like last year (where we ordered the Japan chicken, tandoori chicken, and a quail dish). However, the most memorable experience from this restaurant was, well, the eating experience itself.

Japan chicken and tandoori chicken
Japan chicken and tandoori chicken

So we went there ourselves without our Indian friend and none of us were Indian. We were quite early today for dinner and we were the only people dining there. And what happened was that after serving our orders, the waiters just circled around our table and they watched us eat, closely 😐 .

I can tell you, it was super awkward…

😆

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– An Indian Wedding
– Indian tradition
– Flying back to Europe
Upgraded to Premium Economy

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 Fall Trip to India:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.
3. Part III: Indian Train Trip.

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko dan teman-temannya pergi ke India untuk menghadiri acara pernikahan. Setelah tiba di Chennai dan menghabiskan dua hari disana, mereka menaiki kereta Shatabdi Express untuk pergi ke jantung Tamil Nadu, dimana pesta pernikahannya akan berlangsung.

***

Cerita dari waktu kami di desa teman kami aku bagi ke dalam dua posting: satu akan aku khususkan untuk cerita yang berkaitan dengan pesta pernikahannya dan yang satu lagi berisi kegiatan lainnya selama disana. Aku akan mulai dengan yang kedua dengan posting ini.

Kuil Sangameswarar dan Gajah Suci

Kami pergi ke Kuil Sangameswarar lagi. Iya, “lagi” karena tahun lalu kami juga mengunjungi kuil ini yang berlokasi di dekat rumahnya teman kami. Seperti tahun lalu, orangtua teman kami mengantar kami kesana dan juga menunjukkan bagaimana umat Hindu beribadah disana. Kurang lebih sama sih seperti tahun lalu, kecuali bahwa kali ini kami kesananya di pagi hari, haha 😀 .

The Sangameswarar Temple
Kul Sangameswarar

Eh, tetapi ada satu hal yang berbeda ding tahun ini.

Karena merupakan kuil yang besar dan penting di daerahnya, ada gajah suci loh yang tinggal di kuilnya. Iya, bukan sekadar gajah biasa, tetapi SANG gajah suci, haha 😆 .

Tahun lalu ketika kami kesana, gajahnya sedang mengambil cuti tahunan gitu deh jadi ia lagi pergi liburan gitu (serius, beneran ini!) sehingga kami gagal bertemu dengannya. Kali ini, untungnya dia sedang nggak cuti ketika kami berada disana! Hore!! 😀

Kami bertemu dengan gajah sucinya setelah berdoa di kuil. Kami memberikan sedikit sumbangan/persembahan (Rs 10) ke gajahnya, yang mengambil uangnya dengan belalainya dan kemudian dengan belalainya itu ia akan memberkati kami. Kami diperbolehkan mengambil foto ketika gajahnya memberkati kami (berkat orangtua temanku yang merupakan umat aktif di kuilnya jadi mereka kenal pawang gajahnya gitu deh).

Tentu saja dong aku juga diberkati! 😀 Dan aku mengerti deh sekarang mengapa gajah yang ini kok suci. Ia itu memang bukan sekadar gajah biasa loh. Gajahnya pintar banget! Jadi ketika diberkati itu, aku minta tolong temanku untuk memfotoku dengan kameraku, tetapi ternyata hasil fotonya nggak oke. Eh gajahnya, entah bagaimana, tahu dong dan ia terus-terusan memberkatiku sampai aku mendapatkan hasil foto yang bagus! Wow!! :shocked: Sebagai akibatnya, totalnya aku “diberkati” sebanyak 8 atau 9 kali gitu deh, haha 😆 .

Getting blessed by the holy elephant
Diberkati oleh sang gajah suci

Tetapi ternyata menjadi gajah suci itu ada nggak enaknya juga lho. Jadi ceritanya orangtuanya temanku ingin memberikan persembahan (berupa buah-buahan) untuk gajah sucinya. Namun, pawang gajahnya menolaknya karena, ummm, gajah sucinya terkena diabetes dong akibat persembahan-persembahan yang ia terima di masa lalu.😅😅😅😅😅

😐

Oke, jadi mungkin masuk akal juga ya bahwa diabetes bisa menyerang makhluk hidup selain manusia juga…

Coimbatore

Oke, untuk saat ini mari kita meloncat ke hari terakhir dari perjalanan musim gugurku ke India tahun ini.

Perjalanan kembali ke Eropa akan kami mulai dengan penerbangan dari kota Coimbatore ke Mumbai di penerbangan domestiknya Jet Airways. Karena penerbangan ini dijadwalkan di malam hari dan jadwal kami di pagi dan siang harinya masih kosong, kami memutuskan untuk menyewa mobil dan menghabiskan seharian di Coimbatore sebelum pergi ke bandaranya.

Awalnya kami berpikir untuk mengunjungi kuil disana. Tetapi kemudian kami berubah pikiran dan memutuskan untuk santai-santai aja hari ini dengan pergi ke mall-nya, haha 😆 . Untuk ini, kami memutuskan untuk mengunjungi Brooksfield mall karena disana ada bioskopnya.

Deal or No Deal
Deal or No Deal

Namun, ternyata waktu itu tidak ada jadwal film yang bersahabat dengan kami sehingga rencana menonton film harus kami batalkan. Jadilah kami memutuskan untuk memanjakan diri aja: bermain beberapa game di pusat permainan gitu (favoritku adalah game Deal or No Deal), ngopi di sebuah kafe, dan, yang aku paling sukai nih, pergi ke salon dimana aku memutuskan untuk pijat kepala ala India! Haha 😆 .

Makanannya

Di luar pesta pernikahannya, kami hanya makan di restoran hotel kami saja yang menyediakan makanan yang enak. Wow, aku suka semua makanan yang mereka sediakan lho karena enak-enak, walaupun sebagian besar adalah makanan yang berdasarkan asas goreng-menggoreng sih jadi amat nggak sehat gitu, haha 😆 .

Restoran lain yang juga berkesan adalah restoran yang sama seperti yang kami kunjungi tahun lalu yang merupakan restoran favoritnya adiknya temanku di Erode, haha 😆 . Makanannya enak-enak banget, sama lah kayak tahun lalu (kami memesan menu Japan chicken, tandoori chicken, dan sebuah menu burung puyuh). Namun, pengalaman paling berkesan dari restoran ini kali ini adalah, yah, pengalaman makannya itu sendiri.

Japan chicken and tandoori chicken
Japan chicken dan tandoori chicken

Jadi kami pergi kesana sendiri tanpa teman India kami dan kami semua bukan orang India. Kami tiba disana agak awal hari ini sehingga kala itu kami adalah satu-satunya pengunjung. Nah, setelah selesai mengantarkan pesanan kami, para pelayannya berdiri mengelilingi meja kami dan, umm, menonton kami makan dengan seksama loh 😐 .

Aku kasih tahu deh, awkward banget rasanya…

😆

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Sebuah pernikahan India
– Tradisi India
– Terbang kembali ke Eopa
Di-upgrade ke kelas Ekonomi Premium

Asia Trip · South Asia · Vacation

#1648 – 2015 Fall Trip to India (Part III: An Indian Train Trip)

ENGLISH

Previous post on the 2015 Fall Trip to India series:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.

Previously on 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko and his friends went to India to attend a wedding. After arriving in Chennai and spending two full days there, they were ready to go to their friend’s village for the wedding.

***

Prologue

One experience which I missed from my previous trip to India was the train experience (Delhi’s metro doesn’t count of course). So for this reason we chose Chennai as a destination since it was possible to take a train (with reasonable amount of trip time) from Chennai to our Indian friend’s village in the heart of Tamil Nadu.

Indian train selfie
Took the train in India so obviously a selfie (and got laughed at by the woman behind me)

Since weeks before the trip, we had tried to book the tickets online but we could not as apparently we needed a local Indian number for that. We contacted our hotel in Chennai to book them for us but they asked us to transfer some money manually to a local Indian bank which had no IBAN code hence (1) it was unsecure, (2) the transfer process would take too long anyway, and on top of those (3) the processing fee would be so high that it doubled the train tickets’ price 😆 . So we decided to wing it and see how it would go once we were in India. Long story short, finally we were able to secure the tickets through our hotel, even with lower price than what we agreed in our email exchange weeks before, lol 😆 .

While we wanted to experience an Indian train ride, at the same time we were also looking for some comfort, lol 😆 . For this reason we booked the Shatabdi Express, which was the top-tier tain service in India (they branded it the superfast train even though it did not travel nearly as fast as the high-speed train in Europe or Japan, lol 😆 ). The train consisted of 1 first class AC coach and 8 second class AC coaches. We were looking for tickets for the first class AC coach but everything was sold out already. So we went with the second class which should still be okay as it was equipped with AC, haha.

The Trip

The Shatabdi Express
The Shatabdi Express

The Shatabdi Express was scheduled to leave Chennai Central Station at 07:15. So we got up early, checked out from our hotel at 06:30, and took our pre-arranged taxi to the station. Luckily it was not difficult to find our train where, funnily (at least it was quite funny to me), they printed the name of all the passengers and put it by every coach’s door. We found our seat in the 3-2 configured second class AC coach. The AC turned out to be really chilly, btw, and it was like this for the entire 5 hours trip to Erode Junction.

The train departed a little bit late (10 minutes); but the service on board was beyond my expectation! Yes, there WAS service even in second class! First, they started by handing out a 1.5 liter bottled water to everyone. Then, a light snack service which consisted of hot tea and Marie biscuits was served. Not long after, the breakfast service was provided. Technically there was supposed to be two options: vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Our hotel guy got us the vegetarian dish but he said we could switch to non-vegetarian while being served. However, it did not seem like the opportunity came during service as the only server looked extremely busy distributing all the meals to the 70+ passengers in the coach. Nevertheless, the breakfast was okay which consisted of some Indian breakfast dishes and a pair of white bread.

Breakfast service
Breakfast service
A Tamil view
A Tamil view

Many said a train trip in India would offer beautiful scenery. While I agreed that the scenery was great and was definitely nothing like Europe, to me it also did not strike as special as it was basically similar to what ones would see while taking a train during the day in Java! Haha 😆 . There were rice fields, some palm/coconut trees, some hills came and went once in awhile, and some local villages. Beautiful though? Yes. Wow to me? No. But of course this is not to say that this is the same everywhere in India.

Erode Junction

Our friend’s village was located close to Erode and Erode was the closest town where the Shatabdi Express stopped; so we got off here. Surprisingly (?) though, the train arrived on time in Erode Junction Station!! Kudos to Indian Railways!

We got off the train station, looked for a taxi, and went to the hotel which our friend had arranged for us.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Komarapalayan and Bhavani
– Getting blessed by THE holy elephant
– The Indian Wedding
– Coimbatore
– Back to Europe

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 Fall Trip to India:
1. Part I: Getting to India.
2. Part II: Chennai.

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko dan teman-temannya pergi ke India untuk menghadiri acara pernikahan teman mereka. Setelah tiba di Chennai dan menhabiskan dua hari penuh disana, kini mereka siap untuk pergi ke desa temannya dimana pernikahannya akan berlangsung.

***

Prolog

Satu pengalaman yang terlewatkan di perjalananku sebelumnya ke India adalah pengalaman naik kereta (jelas metronya Delhi nggak dihitung lah ya). Oleh karena alasan lah kami memilih Chennai sebagai destinasi kami karena dari kota ini kami bisa naik kereta (dengan waktu tempuh yang masuk akal) untuk mencapai desa teman kami di tengah Tamil Nadu.

Indian train selfie
Naik kereta di India jadi jelas harus selfie dong ya (trus diketawain ibu-ibu di belakangku)

Semenjak beberapa minggu sebelum perjalanan dimulai, kami sudah mencoba memesan tiket keretanya melalui internet tetapi kami gagal karena ternyata dibutuhkan sebuah nomor telepon lokal India untuk itu. Jadilah kami mengontak hotel kami di Chennai untuk memesankannya untuk kami. Tetapi kemudian mereka meminta kami untuk mentransfer pembayarannya secara manual ke sebuah bank lokal India yang tidak memiliki kode IBAN sehingga (1) transaksinya nggak aman dong ya, (2) toh proses transfernya bakal memakan waktu terlalu lama juga, dan di samping kedua poin itu (3) biaya transfernya besar banget sehingga yang harus kami bayarkan adalah dua kali lipat harga tiket keretanya, haha 😆 . Jadilah kami memutuskan untuk “lihat ntar aja” dan mengurusnya begitu kami tiba di India. Singkat cerita, kami berhasil mendapatkan tiket keretanya melalui hotel kami, dan bahkan dengan harga tiket yang lebih murah daripada yang sebelumnya kami setujui melalui email, haha 😆 .

Walaupun kami ingin merasakan yang namanya naik kereta di India, di waktu yang sama kami juga maunya naik kereta yang enakan, haha 😆 . Oleh karena itu, kami memilih kereta Shatabdi Express, yang mana merupakan layanan kereta kelas atas di India, mungkin semacam kereta api kelas Argo gitu kalau di Indonesia (dan kereta ini mereka pasarkan sebagai kereta super cepat, walaupun keretanya sama sekali tidak bergerak secepat kereta super cepat di Eropa atau Jepang sih, haha 😆 ). Keretanya terdiri dari satu gerbong kelas 1 AC dan delapan gerbong kelas 2 AC. Awalnya kami mencari tiket gerbong kelas 1 tetapi ternyata tiketnya sudah habis. Ya sudah deh kami naik yang kelas 2 saja yang mana sebenarnya masih enak-enak aja sih karena toh ada ACnya, haha.

Naik Kereta Api…

The Shatabdi Express
Shatabdi Express

Shatabdi Express dijadwalkan berangkat dari Stasiun Chennai Central jam 7:15 pagi. Jadilah kami bangun pagi, check-out dari hotel jam 06:30 pagi, dan kemudian menaiki taksi yang sudah kami pesan sebelumnya untuk ke stasiun. Untungnya, tidak sulit untuk mencari kereta kami dimana, lucunya (setidaknya lucu untukku sih), nama semua penumpang keretanya dicetak di kertas dan kertasnya ditempelkan di sebelah pintu masuk keretanya lho. Kami menemukan kursi kami di gerbong kelas 2 AC yang dikonfigurasi 3-2. ACnya sendiri ternyata dingin banget btw, dan sepanjang perjalanan selama 5 jam ke Erode Junction ya begini terus dinginnya.

Kereta berangkat sedikit terlambat (10 menit); tetapi servis di dalam keretanya melebihi perkiraanku! Iya loh, ADA servis gitu di kelas 2! Pertama-tama, setiap penumpang dibagikan 1 botol air mineral sebesar 1,5 liter, haha. Lalu, layanan snack ringan dibagikan yang terdiri dari teh hangat dan biskuit Marie. Tidak lama setelahnya, layanan makan pagi diberikan. Secara teknis ada pilihannya sih: menu vegetarian atau non-vegetarian. Orang hotel kami memesankan menu vegetarian untuk kami tetapi ia berkata bahwa jika kami ingin menu non-vegetarian, kami bisa meminta untuk mengganti menunya ketika layanan makanan dibagikan. Namun, kami tidak melihat kemungkinan untuk itu karena satu-satunya petugas servis di gerbong kami nampak riweuh nan sibuk banget membagikan menunya satu per satu ke 70+ penumpang di gerbon kami. Toh, sarapannya sendiri masih oke-oke saja sih yang terdiri dari beberapa menu sarapan ala India dan setangkup roti tawar putih.

Breakfast service
Layanan Sarapan
A Tamil view
Pemandangan Tamil

Banyak yang bilang bahwa naik kereta di India itu menawarkan pemandangan yang indah. Walaupun aku setuju bahwa pemandangannya memang oke dan sama sekali berbeda dari pemandangan di Eropa, untukku pemandangannya tidak spektakuler sekali karena mirip dengan pemandangan ketika naik kereta di siang hari di pulau Jawa! Haha 😆 . Ada banyak sawah, beberapa pepohonan dan pohon kelapa, kadang-kadang ada bukit-bukit, dan beberapa pedesaan. Indah? Iya sih. Wow banget untukku? Tidak. Eh, ini aku tidak bilang bahwa semua pemandangan naik kereta di India seperti ini ya.

Erode Junction

Desa teman kami berada dekat dengan Erode dan Erode adalah kota terdekat dimana Shatabdi Express berhenti; jadilah kami turun disana. Yang mengejutkanku (?), keretanya tiba di Stasiun Erode Junction tepat waktu loh!! Kudos untuk Indian Railways!

Kami turun di stasiunnya, mencari taksi, dan pergi ke hotel yang telah disiapkan teman kami.

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Komarapalayan dan Bhavani
– Diberkati oleh gajah suci
– Pernikahan India
– Coimbatore
– Kembali ke Eropa

Asia Trip · South Asia · Vacation

#1647 – 2015 Fall Trip to India (Part II: Chennai)

ENGLISH

Previous post on the 2015 Fall Trip to India series:
1. Part I: Getting to India.

Previously on 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko and his friends went to India to attend a wedding. After a day of travel, they arrived at the capital of the Tamil Nadu state, Chennai, and would spend a few days there before going to the wedding.

***

Chennai

Being a coastal city located on a shore of the Bay of Bengal, naturally the air in Chennai was humid, translation: it was so freaking hot out there, 😆 . But it was a little bit of a nice break from the colder environment in Europe though; even though in a longer term I would still prefer cold than hot weather, lol 😆 . Anyway, in one full day which we decided to spend in Chennai, we visited two types of places: a temple and the shopping malls, haha 😆

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple
The Kapaleeshwarar Temple

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple was a medium-sized Hindu temple in the heart of Chennai. While we were allowed to, at least, enter the temple area (inside the gate), we were not allowed to get into the temple itself for being non-Hindus. Too bad when we were there, some construction works were going on to, possibly, maintain the temple’s beautiful structure.

The Shopping Malls

We visited two shopping malls there: the Chennai Citi Centre and the Express Avenue mall. Chennai Citi Centre was a very small mall with few stuffs to see so it was quite boring to me. The Express Avenue mall, however, was much better. My friend got a hair cut there where for the same price as in Europe, she got much more treatments! Haha 😆

The Express Avenue mall was connected to the E hotel which, at the time that we were there, had a happy hour buy one get one promotion for drinks at their bar! So we decided to make use of this offer, which turned out to include complimentary (unlimited) snacks as well! Two types of snack were served: the standard salty peanuts and cassava chips! And I loved the cassava chips as it reminded me a lot of Indonesia, haha 😆 .

Mamallapuram

On our other full day in Chennai, we decided to rent a car and went to the town of Mamallapuram, some 60 km south of Chennai.

The Crocodile Bank

A lot of crocodiles!!
A lot of crocodiles!!

On our way to Mamallapuram, we passed the Crocodile Bank and decided to pay a visit. As its name suggest, it was a crocodile farm where, basically, there were plenty of different types of crocodiles there. After paying a small entrance fee of only Rs 40 per person for adult, we spent about 45 minutes in the Bank. It was really cool though as we saw (1) many different types of crocodiles, including those with thin jaws and (2) a lot of crocodiles. I don’t think I have seen these many crocodiles since visiting a similar crocodile farm back in Thailand about 12 years ago, haha.

There were also options for people to, if they wanted, adopt some of the crocodiles. I am not really sure what “to adopt” means in the sense whether you would have to take the crocodiles home with you or you would just need to donate some money to the Bank to take care of them. Either way, well, I don’t think I am ready to adopt anything at this point, haha 😆 .

The Temples of Mamallapuram

Khrisna's butterball
Khrisna’s butterball
The Five Rathas
The Five Rathas

Mamallapuram was a beautiful small town with its main attraction being the historical Hindu temples, which were really cool. Our driver introduced us to a local guide that he knew and we decided to hire him. His service turned out to be just standard. It was not bad in the sense that his English accent was not difficult to follow; but it was not superb as well as most information he provided was standard information of the site. Too less trivias.

There were four sites which we visited today: The Arjuna’s Penance, The Khrisna’s Butterball, The Shore Temple, and The Five Rathas. It happened that we were in Mamallapuram at the perfect time at around sunset where the sun light made the site even prettier! So if you plan to go there, I would advise you to be there about 1 hour before sunset (and hoping that the weather would be good of course)!

The Shore Temple
The Shore Temple. To me it looked like some Hindu temples in Java

All sites were amazing for their own reason. I loved the carvings on the rock of the Arjuna’s Penance. The Khrisna’s Butterball just looked simply amazing as it was a big roundly-shaped rock that, somehow, got stuck. The Shore Temple and the Five Rathas are ancient Hindu temples and, in some way, they reminded of some Hindu temples we can find in Central Java 🙂 .

The Food

When departing for this trip, I could not wait for the food of course! Especially I was so looking forward to those dosas! Haha 😆 . And Chennai did not disappoint us. We had a lot of local food, one at a restaurant which another Indian friend of ours, who was a native Chennai, recommended. At the Express Avenue mall, we went to a fancy looking Indian restaurant which also offered good South Indian dish.

Yay!! A dosa again!!
Yay!! A dosa again!!

At Mamallapuram, we had lunch at a seafood restaurant and I was (and still am) sure we were being scammed. They gave us a menu book with prices and we made our decision based on it. We ordered a fish dish and calamari for Rs 350 each, and some rice and drinks. But then a few minutes after we placed our order, the waiter came back and the price for us was Rs 600 per PERSON. Of course we complained because it was not what was stated in the menu book and how could he just come up with a number like that. He said the menu book price was only for small fish while we got big fish. Well, funnily, when I asked about the fish’s size while making the order, he said they only had one size. Lol, so what was the menu book price for? 😆

And the fish was not even fresh.

Well, travelling experience in India this certainly was 😆 .

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Taking an Indian train
– Back in Komarapalayam and Bhavani
– More of Tamil Nadu
– A South Indian Wedding
– Coimbatore

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 Fall Trip to India:
1. Part I: Getting to India.

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India: Zilko dan teman-temannya pergi ke India untuk menghadiri sebuah acara pernikahan. Setelah seharian terbang, mereka tiba di ibukota negara bagian Tamil Nadu, Chennai, dan akan menghabiskan dua hari disana sebelum pergi ke kondangannya.

***

Chennai

Karena merupakan kota pantai yang terletak di tepi Laut Bengal, tentu saja udara di Chennai amat lembab, baca: panass bangeettttt, hahaha 😆 . Tetapi asyik juga sih sebenarnya mendapatkan istirahat sejenak dari cuaca di Eropa yang waktu itu sudah dingin; walaupun untuk jangka panjang sih aku masih lebih suka cuaca dingin daripada panas ya, haha 😆 . Ngomong-ngomong, di satu hari penuh yang kami habiskan di Chennai, kami mengunjungi dua macam tempat: sebuah kuil dan mall-nya, haha 😆

Kuil Kapaleeshwarar

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Kuil Kapaleeshwarar

Kuil Kapaleeshwarar adalah sebuah kuil Hindu berukuran sedang di jantung kota Chennai. Walaupun kami dibolehkan untuk, setidaknya, masuk ke dalam area kuilnya (di dalam gerbangnya), kami tidak diperbolehkan masuk ke dalam bangunan kuilnya itu sendiri karena kami tidak beragama Hindu. Sayangnya, ketika kami berada disana, kuilnya sedang direnovasi untuk, kayaknya sih, perawatan strukturnya yang indah itu.

Mall

Dua mall kami kunjungi disana: Chennai Citi Centre dan Express Avenue. Chennai Citi Centre adalah sebuah mall kecil dimana sedikit banget yang bisa dilihat di dalamnya sehingga untukku mall-nya terasa sangat membosankan. Express Avenue, untungnya, jauh lebih menarik. Seorang temanku potong rambut disana dengan biaya yang sama seperti di Eropa tetapi mendapatkan servis dan perawatan yang jauh lebih banyak! Haha 😆

Express Avenue terkoneksi dengan Hotel E yang, waktu itu, sedang menawarkan promosi happy hour buy one get one untuk minuman di bar hotelnya! Lumayan kan ya, jadilah kami mampir untuk memanfaatkan penawaran ini, yang mana ternyata termasuk dengan snack gratisan (tak terbatas pula) lho! Ada dua tipe snack yang disajikan, kacang asin yang biasa banget itu dan keripik singkong! Aku sih suka singkongnya karena mengingatkanku akan Indonesia, haha 😆 .

Mamallapuram

Di satu hari penuh lainnya di Chennai, kami memutuskan untuk menyewa mobil dan pergi ke kota Mamallapuram yang berlokasi sekitar 60 km selatan Chennai.

Crocodile Bank

A lot of crocodiles!!
Banyak buaya!!

Di jalan ke Mamallapuram, kami melewati sebuah Crocodile Bank dan memutuskan untuk mampir. Seperti namanya, tempat ini adalah peternakan buaya dimana terdapat banyak sekali macam buaya disana. Dengan biaya masuk sebesar Rs 40 saja per orang dewasa, kami menghabiskan sekitar 45 menit disana. Keren loh karena disana kami melihat (1) banyak sekali tipe buaya, termasuk yang moncongnya pipih itu dan (2) banyak banget buaya. Kayaknya ini adalah kali pertama aku melihat buaya sebanyak ini deh semenjak kunjungan ke tempat serupa di Thailand sekitar 12 tahun yang lalu, haha.

Ada juga pilihan bagi pengunjung untuk, jika mau, mengadopsi buayanya. Aku nggak yakin sih apa yang dimaksud dengan “mengadopsi” dalam artian apakah buayanya harus dibawa pulang lalu dirawat sendiri di rumah atau hanya perlu menyumbangkan sekian ke peternakannya untuk merawat buayanya. Toh yang mana pun, aku sekarang tidak siap untuk mengadopsi apa pun sih, haha 😆 .

Kuil-kuil di Mamallapuram

Khrisna's butterball
Khrisna’s butterball
The Five Rathas
Five Rathas

Mamallapuram adalah sebuah kota kecil yang indah yang mana atraksi utamanya adalah kuil-kuil Hindu kunonya yang keren banget. Sopir kami mengenalkan kami ke seorang pemandu wisata lokal yang ia kenal dan kami memutuskan untuk menggunakan jasanya. Layanan jasanya ternyata biasa saja. Nggak jelek sih dalam artian aksen bahasa Inggrisnya bisa dimengerti; tetapi juga nggak spesial-spesial amat karena informasi yang diberikan hanyalah informasi standar saja. Trivianya terlalu sedikit.

Empat tempat kami kunjungi hari ini: Arjuna’s Penance, Khrisna’s Butterball, Shore Temple, dan Five Rathas. O iya, kebetulan kami di Mamallapuram di waktu yang tepat banget yaitu sebelum matahari terbenam sehingga cahaya mataharinya membuat tempat-tempat ini nampak semakin indah! Jadi kalau ada yang berencana kesana, aku sarankan untuk berada di kota ini sekitar 1 jam sebelum waktu matahari terbenam (dan berharap cuacanya sedang bagus)!

The Shore Temple
Shore Temple. Untukku, kuil ini nampak seperti candi Hindu di Jawa.

Semua tempatnya keren banget sesuai dengan karakteristiknya masing-masing. Aku suka banget ukiran di batunya Arjuna’s Penance. Khrisna’s Butterball nampak keren banget dimana ini adalah sebuah batu berbentuk bundar besar yang, entah bagaimana, bisa berdiri diam gitu dan tidak menggelinding. Shore Temple dan Five Rathas adalah kuil-kuil Hindu yang, di satu sisi, mengingatkanku akan beberapa candi Hindu yang bisa kita temukan di Jawa Tengah 🙂 .

Makanannya

Ketika berangkat, aku sudah tidak sabar banget untuk menyantap makanannya! Terutama dosa-nya itu! Haha 😆 . Dan Chennai tidak mengecewakan kami. Kami hanya makan makanan lokal saja selama disana, dan salah satunya adalah di rumah makan yang direkomendasikan oleh seorang teman kami yang orang India yang memang berasal dari Chennai. Di Express Avenue, kami makan di sebuah rumah makan India yang nampak keren gitu yang menyajikan menu India Selatan yang enak-enak.

Yay!! A dosa again!!
Hore!! Aku makan dosa lagi!!

Di Mamallapuram, kami makan siang di sebuah rumah makan seafood dan aku yakin bahwa kami dikemplang disana. Jadi ceritanya kami diberi sebuah buku menu dan pilihan kami adalah berdasarkan buku menu ini. Kami memesan sebuah menu ikan dan calamari seharga Rs 350 per menu, dan nasi dan minuman. Tetapi beberapa menit setelah pesanan kami masuk, pelayanannya kembali ke meja kami dan berkata bahwa biaya bagi kami adalah Rs 600 per orang. Jelas dong kami komplain karena ini bukanlah angka yang tertera di buku menu mereka dan kok bisa-bisanya ia tiba-tiba datang dengan angka segitu. Ia berkata bahwa harga di buku menu adalah untuk ikan yang kecil dan ikan kami adalah ikan yang besar. Lucunya, ketika aku bertanya ukuran ikannya ketika memesan makanan, ia berkata bahwa mereka hanya memiliki satu ukuran saja. Lah, trus harga di buku menunya untuk apa dong 😆

Dan bahkan ketika datang, ikannya pun tidak segar.

Ya gitu deh, pengalaman travelling di India memang ya 😆 .

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Naik kereta lokal di India
– Kembali di Komarapalayam dan Bhavani
– Lebih banyak tentang Tamil Nadu
– Pernikahan India Selatan
– Coimbatore

Asia Trip · Aviation · South Asia · Trip Report · Vacation

#1644 – 2015 Fall Trip to India (Part I: Getting to India)

ENGLISH

The story of my 2015 Fall Trip to India for my friends’ wedding starts with, well, how to get there, of course 😛 .

My friends and I decided to come a few days earlier before the wedding for some short trip in India. What we had in our mind was somewhere in South India so we would be able to reach our friend’s village with train. And then in May I found a good deal for a ticket to Chennai and we booked it right away. So off the Chennai we went! We did not fly there directly though. We bought the tickets from Air France’s website which gave us KLM flights (with KLM’s flight number) that would be operated by Etihad Airways. Haha, aren’t we loving this business these days? A single departing ticket that involved three different airlines! Lol 😆 .

As we were flying Etihad, we were flying Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Chennai, like this:

Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Chennai. Map created with gcmap.com

So let us start this trip report.

EY 78 (Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi)

EY Logo

Flight: Etihad Airways EY 78
Equipment: Airbus A330-200 reg A6-EYD
ATD: 22:00 CET (Runway 36L of AMS)
ATA: 07:10 GST (Runway 13L of AUH)

Our flight was scheduled to depart at 22:00. It was such a good timing though because I did not have to rush to the airport at all, haha 😆 .

We arrived at the airport at around 19:00. After checking-in at the counter, we passed the security and immigration check (thanks to my Silver Flying Blue membership, we did not have to queue for too long, lol 😆 ). We went to the gate, which was conveniently located next to a bar and a small fast food restaurant. We had dinner at the restaurant first where I ordered a pork ramen.

An Etihad's Airbus A330-200 reg A6-EYD which would bring us to Abu Dhabi today
An Etihad’s Airbus A330-200 reg A6-EYD which would bring us to Abu Dhabi today

Boarding commenced on time, on which we could use my Silver card to board first as a Sky Priority passengers, haha 😆 . Btw, the flight today would be operated with an Airbus A330-200 with registration A6-EYD which was already in Etihad’s new livery! Yeayy!! 😀

We settled in our seat at the middle section of the plane. Boarding took some time to complete, much to my surprise though because an Airbus A330-200 was not that big of an airplane. Nevertheless, we departed on time at 22:00. We took off from the infamous Polderbaan so taxiing took awhile to get to the runway 36L of Polderbaan.

The first thing which made me “whoaa” was the headphone that they provided in the flight for the passengers to enjoy the IFE. It was like this:

The headphone in economy!!
The headphone in economy!!

Yes, it was the best headphone I have ever had when flying economy! Haha 😆 . Btw, our seat section today was served by a very very beautiful flight attendant who looked like Ana Ivanovic, haha 😛 .

A few moments after take-off, dinner service began. The second thing which made me, again, “whoaa” was the presence of three meals options in economy (in all other flights that I had taken, there were only two (sometimes even only one) meals options)! The choices today were chicken, lamb, or vegetarian pasta. Well, it was easy for me. Lamb all the way of course! However, the dish turned out to be not as good and there were only few pieces of lamb meat. So I was a little bit disappointed.

On board A6-EYD in the morning.
On board A6-EYD in the morning. Btw, the flight attendant in this picture was “Ana Ivanovic” as I mentioned above 😛

To accompany myself, I decided to watch Inside Out in the IFE, haha.

It was a routine 7 hours-ish flight to Abu Dhabi. I tried to sleep but I could not really. About 1.5 hours before arrival, a light snack service was provided which consisted of a piece of chocolate muffin. It was quite good. At 07:10 Abu Dhabi time, A6-EYD landed smoothly at runway 13L of Abu Dhabi International Airport. Here is the landing video:

We parked at a remote parking area so we had to be taken by bus to get to the terminal building.

Transit in Abu Dhabi

Here is the thing, we would have an 8 hour of transit in Abu Dhabi. One option would be, of course, to visit the city of Abu Dhabi and do a short sightseeing tour. However, because (1) our connecting fligt would depart at 15:00 so we would have to go back to the airport before noon if we decided to go to Abu Dhabi and (2) I would need a visa to enter United Arab of Emirates and I found the visa fee to be quite high for such a short visit to the city. Therefore, my friend and I decided to just stay at the airport.

I found Abu Dhabi Airport to be a little bit, well, old and underwhelming. It was definitely not like Dubai’s which was really cool and modern. However, I think it was because the terminal we were in was the old terminal. I saw a big construction work was going on at the airport and it appeared that they were building new terminal(s) which, from the outside, looked promising.

We decided to wait in this lounge
We decided to wait in this lounge

Eight hour was certainly a really long time for a transit in a not very comfortable terminal building. Therefore, we decided to go to an executive lounge for around €60 for five hours and killed some time there. It was a good decision though. The free wifi connection was faster, we had nice sofas to sit on, and there was complimentary food, snack, and drinks all the time, haha. And so I was able to sleep(-ish) a little bit 🙂 .

EY270 (Abu Dhabi – Chennai)

At 13:30, we left the lounge and went to our gate. Our plane was parked in a remote parking (again) so they had to take us there with bus. The bus stopped at a ramp with several Airbus A320-200s and they took us to one of them, A6-EIF. Btw, yes, this would be my longest flight with a narrow-body plane A320-200. 😀

EY Logo

Flight: Etihad Airways EY 270
Equipment: Airbus A320-200 reg A6-EIF
ATD: 14:55 GST (Runway 31L of AUH)
ATA: 19:55 IST (Runway 07 of MAA)

After boarding was completed, we took off from runway 31L of Abu Dhabi International Airport. The take-off made me realize that Abu Dhabi was, indeed, in a desert! Here is the take-off video:

The view upon take-off was amazing though. Aside from the desert (and sea), we also got to see several structures, including the Yas Marina Circuit where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a Formula 1 race, is held annually.

We did not get headphones on this Airbus A320-200 flight, instead we got earphones which were still okay quality-wise. Not long after take-off, the lunch service started. Just like in the EY 78 flight, there were three options for the meal: lamb, fish, or a vegetarian rice dish. A little bit disappointed with the lamb dish I had in the previous flight and not wanting to eat something vegetarian (lol, 😆 ), I had no other option than the fish dish. It turned out to be quite good though.

About two hours after take-off, the sun set in the west and it looked so stunning!

Sunset over the Arabian Sea
Sunset over the Arabian Sea

After sunset, they turned off the light and the now dimmed cabin made me so sleepy! Haha 😆 . I slept for pretty much the rest of the trip and just woke up when we were approaching Chennai International Airport. The crew announced that we would be landing way ahead of our scheduled arrival btw (by about an hour!). And at 19:55, we landed at runway 07 of Chennai International Airport. Here is the landing video:

Chennai, we were back! 🙂

Then, it was the normal stuff of passing the immigration and we took our luggage.

The Aftermath

We went out the airport looking for an ATM machine but none was available just outside the international terminal. It was so annoying. So we had to walk all the way down to the domestic terminal to get some cash.

Chennai International Airport
Chennai International Airport

Btw, we were probably few passengers in the plane who were not entirely happy that we landed 1 hour ahead of schedule, haha. Our plan was to wait for another friend whose flight from Frankfurt was scheduled to land at around 23:45. So early landing in Chennai meant longer waiting time! But well, what could we do. So we just waited there at the entrance of the terminal, where no proper cafe/restaurant with seats was available, for about three hours 😆 . At least our friend’s flight from Frankfurt was not delayed.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Chennai
– Mamallapuram
– Taking the Indian train
– More of Tamil Nadu
– The Wedding

BAHASA INDONESIA

Cerita Perjalanan Musim Gugur 2015ku ke India dalam rangka kondangan temanku akan aku mulai dengan, yaa, cerita tentang bagaimana aku berangkat kesananya, tentu saja 😛 .

Teman-temanku dan aku memutuskan untuk tiba beberapa hari lebih awal sebelum acara pernikahannya untuk sebuah perjalanan singkat di India. Pemikiran kami adalah suatu destinasi di India Selatan sehingga kami bisa pergi ke tempat teman India kami dengan kereta api. Dan kemudian di bulan Mei itu aku menemukan tiket promo untuk keberangkatan ke Chennai dan kami langsung membeli tiketnya. Jadilah destinasi kami adalah Chennai! Kami tidak terbang langsung kesana sih. Jadi ceritanya kami membeli tiketnya melalui website-nya Air France yang memberikan kami sebuah tiketnya KLM (dengan nomor penerbangannya KLM) yang akan dioperasikan oleh Etihad Airways. Haha, asyik banget ya terbang zaman sekarang ini? Satu tiket penerbangan aja melibatkan tiga maskapai lho! Hahaha 😆 .

Karena kami akan terbang dengan Etihad, rute kami adalah Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Chennai, kayak gini lah:

Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi – Chennai. Peta dibuat dengan gcmap.com

Jadi mari trip report ini kita mulai saja.

EY 78 (Amsterdam – Abu Dhabi)

EY Logo

Penerbangan: Etihad Airways EY 78
Pesawat: Airbus A330-200 reg A6-EYD
ATD: 22:00 CET (Runway 36L of AMS)
ATA: 07:10 GST (Runway 13L of AUH)

Penerbangan kami dijadwalkan berangkat jam 10 malam. Jadwalnya enak ya dimana aku tidak perlu terburu-buru untuk berangkat ke bandaranya, haha 😆 .

Kami tiba di bandara sekitar jam 7 malam. Setelah check-in, kami melewati sekuriti dan imigrasi (dimana berkat keanggotaan Silver Flying Blue-ku, kami tidak perlu ngantri lama deh, haha 😆 ). Kami pergi ke gerbang keberangkatannya, yang mana lokasinya strategis banget karena berada di sebelahnya sebuah bar dan sebuah restoran fast food kecil. Kami makan malam di restorannya dulu dimana aku memesan sebuah ramen babi.

An Etihad's Airbus A330-200 reg A6-EYD which would bring us to Abu Dhabi today
Sebuah Airbus A330-200nya Etihad registrasi A6-EYD yang membawa kami ke Abu Dhabi hari ini

Boarding berlangsung tepat waktu, dimana dengan kartu Silverku itu aku bisa boarding duluan loh sebagai penumpang Sky Priority, haha 😆 . Btw, penerbangan hari ini akan dioperasikan dengan sebuah Airbus A330-200 dengan registrasi A6-EYD yang mana sudah dicat dengan livery barunya Etihad! Horee!! 😀

Kami langsung duduk pewe di kursi kami yang berada di bagian tengah pesawat. Boarding-nya berlangsung sedikit lebih lama dari dugaanku, yang mana sedikit mengagetkanku sih karena Airbus A330-200 kan nggak besar-besar amat sebenarnya. Ah, toh kami tetap berangkat tepat waktu kok, jam 10 malam. Kami lepas landas dari Polderbaan yang jauh banget itu sehingga taxiing ke landasan pacu 36Lnya itu lamaa.

O iya, hal pertama yang membuatku merasa “wah” adalah headphone yang mereka sediakan di penerbangan ini bagi para penumpangnya untuk menikmati layanan IFEnya. Penampakannya seperti ini:

The headphone in economy!!
Headphone di kelas ekonomi!!

Ya, ini adalah headphone terbaik yang pernah aku dapatkan ketika terbang di kelas ekonomi! Haha 😆 . Btw, area kursiku hari ini dilayani oleh pramugari cantik banget yang mirip sama Ana Ivanovic loh, haha 😛 .

Beberapa waktu setelah lepas landas, layanan makan malam dimulai. Hal kedua yang membuatku merasa “wah” adalah adanya tiga pilihan makanan di kelas ekonomi (di semua penerbangan lainku, hanya ada dua (kadang malah cuma satu aja) pilihan)! Pilihan hari ini adalah menu ayam, domba, atau pasta vegetarian. Gampang dong ya kalau dari pilihan ini mah. Tentu saja aku memilih dombanya! Namun, makanannya ternyata tidak sesedap bayanganku dan potongan dagingnya cuma sedikit sekali. Jadilah aku sedikit merasa kecewa deh.

On board A6-EYD in the morning.
Di dalam A6-EYD di pagi hari. Btw, pramugari di foto ini adalah si “Ana Ivanovic” yang aku sebutkan di atas itu 😛

Untuk menemaniku malam itu, aku memutuskan untuk menonton Inside Out di IFEnya, haha.

Ini adalah penerbangan 7 jam-an rutin ke Abu Dhabi. Aku mencoba untuk tidur tetapi nggak bisa, haha. Sekitar 1,5 jam sebelum mendarat, layanan snack ringan dibagikan yang mana berupa satu buah muffin. Lumayan enak sih. Jam 7:10 pagi waktu Abu Dhabi, A6-EYD mendarat dengan mulus di landasan pacu 13L Bandara Internasional Abu Dhabi. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Kami parkir di sebuah tempat parkir remote sehingga kami harus diangkut dengan bus ke bangunan terminalnya.

Transit di Abu Dhabi

Jadi begini, waktu transit kami di Abu Dhabi adalah 8 jam. Satu pilihan tentu saja adalah untuk mengunjungi kota Abu Dhabi untuk melihat-lihat kotanya. Masalahnya (1) penerbangan lanjutan kami dijadwalkan berangkat jam 3 sore sehingga kami harus kembali ke bandara sebelum tengah hari jika kami memutuskan untuk pergi ke kotanya dan (2) aku membutuhkan visa untuk memasuki Uni Emirat Arab dan biaya visanya, menurutku, amat tinggi untuk sebuah kunjungan singkat ke kotanya. Jadilah temanku dan aku memutuskan untuk menunggu di bandara saja.

Menurutku, Bandara Abu Dhabi itu agak, yah, tua dan kurang oke. Jelas tidak seperti Bandara Dubai lah yang keren dan modern banget. Tetapi ketika disana aku melihat ada pekerjaan konstruksi besar yang sedang berlangsung dan sepertinya mereka sedang membangun terminal baru yang, dari penampilannya, nampak meyakinkan ketika sudah jadi nanti.

We decided to wait in this lounge
Kami memutuskan untuk menunggu di lounge ini

Delapan jam jelas bukanlah sebuah waktu yang singkat untuk transit di sebuah gedung terminal yang kurang nyaman. Makanya kami memutuskan untuk menunggu di sebuah lounge saja yang mana biayanya adalah sekitar €60 untuk lima jam. Ini adalah keputusan yang cukup baik menurutku. Koneksi wifi-nya lebih cepat dan lancar, ada sofa-sofa yang enak buat duduk-duduk dan beristirahat, dan makanan, minuman, snack komplimen tersedia sepanjang waktu, haha. Oh, dan aku bisa sedikit tidur juga disana 🙂 .

EY270 (Abu Dhabi – Chennai)

Jam 1:30 siang, kami meninggalkan lounge-nya dan menuju gerbang keberangkatan. Pesawat kami diparkir di tempat parkir remote (lagi) sehingga kami harus diangkut dengan bus kesana. Bus berhenti di sebuah tempat parkir remote penuh dengan pesawat Airbus A320-200 dan mereka membawa kami ke salah satunya, A6-EIF. Btw, iya, ini akan menjadi penerbangan terpanjangku dengan pesawat narrow body Airbus A320-200 😀 .

EY Logo

Penerbangan: Etihad Airways EY 270
Pesawat: Airbus A320-200 reg A6-EIF
ATD: 14:55 GST (Runway 31L of AUH)
ATA: 19:55 IST (Runway 07 of MAA)

Setelah proses naik pesawat selesai, kami lepas landas dari landasan pacu 31L Bandara Internasional Abu Dhabi. Lepas landas ini baru membuatku sadar bahwa Abu Dhabi itu memang berlokasi di, yah, tengah gurun ya! Berikut ini video lepas landasnya:

Pemandangannya ketika lepas landas keren loh. Di samping gurun (dan laut), ada juga beberapa bangunan yang nampak keren, misalnya Sirkuit Yas Marina dimana Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, sebuah balapan Formula 1, berlangsung setiap tahunnya.

Kami tidak mendapatkan headphone di penerbangan Airbus A320-200 ini melainkan sebuah earphone yang mana kualitasnya masih cukup oke. Tidak lama setelah lepas landas, layanan makan siang diberikan. Seperti di penerbangan EY 78, ada tiga pilihan makanan: menu domba, ikan, dan menu nasi vegetarian. Karena merasa sedikit kecewa dengan menu domba di penerbangan sebelumnya dan aku sedang ogah makan vegetarian, ya mau tidak mau aku harus memilih menu ikannya ya. Ternyata menu ini lumayan enak juga.

Sekitar dua jam setelah lepas landas, matahari terbenam di barat dan pemandangannya kereen!

Sunset over the Arabian Sea
Matahari terbenam di atas Laut Arab

Setelah matahari terbenam, lampu di pesawat dimatikan dan kabin yang kini gelap membuatku merasa amat ngantuk! Haha 😆 . Jadilah aku tidur di sepanjang sisa perjalanan ini dan baru bangun beberapa saat sebelum mendarat di Bandara Internasional Chennai. Kru mengumumkan bahwa kami akan mendarat lebih cepat daripada jadwal (sekitar satu jam lebih cepat!). Jam 7:55 malam, kami mendarat di landasan pacu 07 Bandara Internasional Chennai. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Chennai, kami kembali! 🙂

Setelahnya adalah hal-hal biasa sih dimana kami melewati pemeriksaan imigrasi dan mengambil bagasi.

Setelahnya

Kami pergi keluar dari bandara untuk mencai sebuah mesin ATM tetapi tidak ada yang tersedia dong di luar terminal internasional. Menyebalkan banget deh. Jadilah kami harus berjalan kaki jauh ke terminal domestik untuk mengambil uang tunai.

Chennai International Airport
Bandara Internasional Chennai

Btw, mungkin kami adalah sedikit penumpang dari penerbangan ini yang tidak terlalu senang dengan pendaratan pesawat kami yang sejam lebih cepat itu, haha. Rencana kami adalah menunggu seorang teman yang penerbangannya dari Frankfurt dijadwalkan mendarat jam 11:45 malam. Artinya, pendaratan yang lebih cepat ini membuat kami harus menunggu lebih lama! Ya, tapi mau gimana lagi kan. Jadilah kami menunggu geje di depan terminalnya, dimana tidak terdapat kafe/restoran yang layak untuk dipakai duduk-duduk, haha 😆 . Yah, setidaknya penerbangan teman kami dari Frankfurt itu tidak kena delay sih.

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Fall Trip to India:
– Chennai
– Mamallapuram
– Naik kereta di India
– Lebih banyak tentang Tamil Nadu
– Pesta Pernikahan

Asia Trip · South Asia · Vacation

#1641 – Back From India!!!

ENGLISH

So, this morning I was back in the Netherlands after an about ten days trip to India for my friends’ wedding. How was it? Well, I am saving the stories for later but it was so much FUN!! 😀

Oh, and btw, my returning 9 hours flight from Mumbai to Paris was upgraded from regular economy to premium economy! Yeay!! I was so excited because it was the first time ever in my life this happened to me; and it was also my first time flying in a class above economy! Haha 😛

Upgraded to premium economy!
Upgraded to premium economy!

Anyway, unsurprisingly at the moment I am feeling SO tired. I decided to work in the afternoon today because there is so much things to be done.

So here I am now, resting and recollecting my energy at home. And here are a few teasers from the trip, as per usual 😉

BAHASA INDONESIA

Jadi, pagi ini aku sampai kembali di Belanda dari sebuah perjalanann sepuluhan hari ke India untuk kondangannya temanku disana. Bagaimanakah perjalanannya? Yaa, ceritanya mah untuk posting nanti-nanti aja lah ya, tetapi bisa kubilang sekarang bahwa acaranya SERU banget!! 😀

Oh, dan btw, penerbangan 9 jamku kembali dari Mumbai ke Paris tadi di-upgrade loh dari kelas ekonomi reguler ke kelas ekonomi premium! Horee!! Aku merasa senang banget soalnya ini adalah kali pertama nih hal begini terjadi kepadaku; dan juga untuk pertama kalinya aku terbang di kelas di atas ekonomi! Haha 😛

Upgraded to premium economy!
Di-upgrade ke kelas ekonomi premium!

Anyway, jelas sekarang aku merasa lelah BANGET. Tadi siang aku memutuskan untuk bekerja juga sih karena ada banyak banget kerjaan yang harus diselesaikan.

Anyway, disinilah aku sekarang, beristirahat dan mengumpulkan energi lagi di rumah. Oh, dan di atas adalah beberapa teasers dari perjalanan kali ini, seperti biasa 😉