No, I’m not pregnant again, if you’re wondering! This is a short piece of my and my husband’s journey during the 2010-2011 pregnancy period. We dubbed it as Gembolan Era. Nggembol is the Javanese term for “bringing something in your pocket. And the pocket should be around tummy area. It may as well carrying something using your T-shirt”. OK, I give up, I lost in translation. Long story short, we called the baby inside my belly “Gembolan”. And he sure has his share of adventure while still in the womb.
This certain piece is not to encourage pregnant women out there to travel. Sure, everything is up to their own judgement – as well as their condition. And sure as hell, their willingness! I share the story so that pregnant ladies are not discouraged to travel.
Here is the list of short and long trips we’ve taken during the Gembolan Era.
2.5 month along we went to Kebun Bunga Nusantara in Cibodas West Java. Everything was fine until the returning trip. It was supposed to be a day trip. Coming out from the complex, we were supposed to follow the sign to Jakarta, that leads us to the road we were coming from. Instead, dear husband put his whole trust to the GPS. He worshipped the GPS blindly (owing this sentence to Chairman Mao).
The road was fine until it was not. We had been traveled for kilometers and the road worsened and worsened. It was no longer a paved road. And even the dirt road occasionally only fit one car. Jungle on the left, cliff on the right. And the GPS lost it way. The screen showed that the car was not on any road. It simply in the middle of nowhere.
The day grew dark and it was past dusk. This pregnant lady needed to take a leak. Sorry universe, she finally went to the loo of nature – the bushes. Miles and miles away, it rained very hard. Never I saw my husband so worried before (but after I saw him THAT worried on our trip to India, later in this story).
After probably around 20 or 30 km, we found a warung (traditional shop). Wohoo, another human being – finally. The owner said that we needed to follow the road for about 7 km and we’ll find a bigger road that eventually lead us to the highway. Eventually. A silver lining in the end of a dark quite road of hell.
The road was finally in front of us. A road that is paved. A road with houses. A road with electricity. The blessed road somewhere in rural Cianjur. I had severe headache by then and could not barely open my eyes. But the heart was rather content knowing that we would survive.
Apparently the road lead us to Purbaleunyi and we headed to Bandung. Most of Bandung hotels are booked on Saturday night, but we managed to get a room in Santika. Finally, we crashed.
Around 3 month along, during Christmas holiday, we decided to have another road trip to Batu Karas beach in Ciamis. So off we went. An overnight stop in Tasikmalaya. In the morning we continued the trip. I had found information from the internet the easiest way to get to Batu Karas. It was supposed to be from Rajapolah to Banjar to Pangandaran and finally to Cijulang.
But, again, — expectedly, never learned from the previous mistakes – Puput prefered to trust the dear lady voice from the GPS. We saw some signs pointing direction to Banjar, but he kept ignoring them. So, another lost battle for me.
As expected we were lost again. The road was terrific but it led to nowhere. The view was fabulous in this long and (literally) winding road. Somehow after a few hours, about 20km, the paved road was gone. It was a dirt road with a lot of bumps. I wonder how a 3-month pregnancy survived this. But hello, sonny boy, is expected to be a tough traveler. Climbing-Kilimanjaro-tough.
There was no gas station, so when we finally found a newly-built mosque , I desperately wanted to go out for toilet. Unfortunately, the toilet was not ready. Two ladies tending a baby in front of their house asked me to use their toilet. Oh dear ladies from heaven, thank you very much.
We hit the road again. We passed Cimanuk, Cimerak, and other places begin with Ci but no Cijulang. The dirt road was close to the sea, so I supposed we were heading to the right direction. We were soon to arrive in Batu Karas, no? Soon. Hopefully before the baby was born.
It was still long way to go until we found a T-junction. According to the lady in front of the shop, Batu Karas was about 15 minutes drive to the right, and Green Canyon was just around the corner. We arrived in Green Canyon!
So there we were, in a placed locally named Cukang Taneuh, already 4pm (we left Tasikmalaya at around 7am, so imagine how far we had been lost). It was so full, no way we could get a boat to enjoy Green Canyon. So we decided to leave for Batu Karas.
On the way we saw a beautiful eco-lodge (we thought, “This must be pretty expensive.”) And off to Batu Karas. I made a few phone calls but JavaCove was fully booked. So after a short but blissful afternoon in Batu Karas beach, we headed back to the eco-lodge we saw earlier. It costs 550,000 per night because it was holiday season. We were lucky to get a room. We booked it and said to the receptionist, “Where is the closest ATM?”
Panireman Riversider was better than we expected. Wooden lodges facing the river. The next day we got our chance to explore Green Canyon.
Two days in the area, then we headed back home via Pangandaran.
A week after, on New Year holiday, I was between 3-4 month along. Dear husband desperately wanted to get out of Jakarta. He always desperately want to travel, like every weekend. After what happened a week before, we wisely decided to play safe. It was Ciater. Avoiding traffic jam in Pasteur, we chose to drive via Subang. One smooth travel.
The only hassle we found was no vacant rooms in Ciater. Everywhere. Somebody offered us villas for 500,000 a night and it was like “kos-kosan”. Nope. We drove down to Lembang and managed to get a room in Villa Enggal for 400,000. Basic but pretty clean.
In the evening we drove back to Ciater for “mandi-mandi” or “kungkum” (literally translated as “soaking”) in the hot spring public pools. It is definitely not recommended for anybody, especially during holidays, particularly for pregnant women who have sane husbands (According to the notice, preggers are actually forbidden to soak.
We got back to our accommodation, stopping by for a glass of bandrek and ketan bakar (toasted sticky rice) on the way. It was around 11:40. When the time reached midnight , which was New Year, when many people loudly blew their trumpets, Puput was asleep undisturbedly. And by the way, it was also my birthday.
The big trip was a week after that, began on the 7th of January, I was around 4.5 month along. We flew to India via Kuala Lumpur. Some of my friends said I was insane to travel to India during pregnancy. But tickets have been booked, hotel has been reserved, itinerary had been made. I have written a series of stories on India in this blog, some have been published by Yahoo!.
Let me summarize the trip. India Gandhi International Airport was awesome. Once you stepped outside, it was a different world. Plus, it was so cold. We had our wintercoat ready, but stupidly we only wore our usual sandals (sandal gunung). The trip was okay except for Taj Mahal part. It involves us waiting and spending a very cold night in a very dirty cramped full-of-people-many-even slept on the floor waiting room. The full story of our Agra Station one-night-in-hell experience is available here.
Oh ya, before that, we were also interrogated by the police in Taj Mahal. Our beloved tripod was confiscated. Story began when the guards did not notice Puput’s tripod in the bag. So we did not know that it is not allowed to use tripod. I did noticed that when my husband prepared it, nobody used one. But the it was too late as a police officer approaching. We were caught red handed.
So yadda yadda yadda the police officer (a rather funny-looking one, so we let ourselves taking picture while walking to the police headquarter. The commander (Sergeant Prakash) asked us to identify the guard who let Puput walked freely with the tripod. How could he? He sometimes even forgets his wife’s face, let alone an unimportant guard. The police let us go but we could only take the tripod when we were about to leave.
Oh ya before that there was also an incident where I had to queue twice because I brought backpack that considered too big, and also travel guide is not allowed. Since the queuing line was separated between male and female, Puput had to wait for nearly 2 hours not knowing where the hell was his lovely wife
Other than this unforgettable experience during our Agra-Taj Mahal trip, the travel went well. Nobody successfully scammed us. No wallet nor cameras stolen. It was still a big win for us! Olen+Puput 1 , India 0.
No more trips after that. It was only my official visits to Aceh. No biggies, except the fact that I could not eat durian.
Another quite big trip was Phuket when I was 6,5 month along. This time I went with Puput and Delin (my sister, also a contributor for this blog but also very lazy to write stuff). The trip was my second but their first. Booked a nice hotel in Patong and had a blast. The fact that we had to go around on motorcycle was not a problem at all, for once we were both happy to be “older”, since motorcycle insurance for a 21 year old is quite expensive and a total hassle to get accepted. Gembolan was always very cooperative, especially when it involved travelling. The one big problem was my butt and back. They were suffering from one day beach-hoping plus Big Buddha plus wat-hopping.
Three days after Phuket, Puput was sent to Kuala Lumpur for a meeting. I was a few days before reaching 7 month along. So he went first, and went after him on Friday. I had to take AirAsia’s last flight, the cheapest one. Since LCCT was very far from the city, Puput did not want to pick me up at the airport. I had to take Skybus to KL Sentral. To my bad luck, my phone was dead. The battery was drained. So, at 1am (yes, I meant 1am pass midnight), I had to walk around dark and deserted KL Sentral to find my darling husband. Finally, there he was, in McDonald trying to keep his eyes opened.
We stayed at the Intercontinental hotel, of course still paid by Puput’s office. So the next day, because we could not afford Intercontinental, we moved to Tune Hotel. The room was so tiny. Ignoring the tireness, we hopped on the train to go to IKEA Damansara. No tragic event, only a brief lunch sitting on the floor in Kelana Jaya while waiting for the rain to stop.
I passed 7 month so I could not travel by air anymore. So when I was reaching 9 month, we decided only to go to Ciwidey. A room in Sindang Reret Ciwidey was a big mistake. It was a very old room, colonial-looking room. Big, weird, dingy. We imagined that at night there must be a Dutch lady (noni-noni Belanda) coming to us. I could not sleep all night long.
Luckily we paid only for one night. The next day we moved to another hotel, i think it was Kampung Strawberry. Cheaper and better. At least not scary.
The trip to Ciwidey was followed by strawberry picking. Then we went to Situ Patengan. There, Puput wanted me (yes the 9-month pregger) to climb to a tea plantation hill. People just looking at us like we were crazy. No, peeps, only my husband! And I slipped as it was slippery. People screamed. Calm down, everybody, the uterus is still intact.
After, we went to Kawah Putih where the entrance ticket for a car was – and still is – unacceptable. We left the car and get into a public angkot (small car). The drive to Kawah Putih was 6 km, bad bad road – West Java (and Banten), please do something about your roads!
The next trip was the last one. It was the road trip to Jogja, where I was about to give birth. Since I was passed 9 month along, we decided to drive. So, when something happened, we could just stop in a hospital on the way. We had our pit stop in Pekalongan. The trip in Batang was so winding I had to cross my legs to keep the baby inside.
When we arrived in Jogja, Puput’s father welcomed me with one whole durian. So who said that pregnant women are not supposed to eat durian? My gynecologist did not think so. He prepared one for me!
So I was in Jogja but I did not feel anything. Gembolan was so comfortable inside. They all said that I had to do a lot of walking. I did. Did not work. So, two days before my due date, Puput and I made a final trip to Siung and Wediombo beaches in Gunungkidul. Awesome beaches, awesome trip, awful hiking. The walk in Wediombo was rather steep, and Puput kept saying, “Come on you can do it!” Believe me, he’s a wonderful husband who always motivates me. Yes, we can!
It was the last trip for Gembolan. Few days after that I was cesared, and came Oliq – the light of our live. The shining star. The Bocah Ngglidik. The third backpacker in the family. The precious. The newest member of our family of wanderlust.
Here, my story must end. The Diary of Pregnant Traveller Part II will be released soon. Soon after we go to Machu Picchu, right, dear husband?
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