From this post till the upcoming several posts, I’d like to tell you about my journey during my school holiday. It’s started from 20 December 2014 to 4 January 2015 and for the holiday, I didn’t want to meet any friends, gathering and so on. My sole goal is to spend my holiday with my family (I mean my mom, dad, sister, in-law and their children). That’s it!
But before I headed to my hometown, Malang, I wanted to visit one or two cities on the way. That’s why I decided to get bus, neither train nor plane (it should be bought online, while bus…anytime you wish. I’d tell you but in chronological hours, as I still have to compile my mood in writing more articles.
My first destination was Cirebon. It’s located around 250 km east of Jakarta and near West and Central Java border. It’s a strategic and important city as it functions as commercial and cultural one since hundred years ago and it used to be The Sultanate of Cirebon which in turn separated into several palaces. I ever visited Cirebon in 1999 and this was my second voyage there.
20 December 2014
The ojek (motorcycle taxi) rider had already been at the security post near my boarding house. We rode to Kebon Nanas terminal for reaching the first bus to Cirebon. When we had already been at Kebon Nanas, I asked the rider about the cost, he said that I could pay him as my wish. I gave IDR 30,000 and he prayed for my save journey. But, I had to wait the bus for the rest half an hour.
After waiting for godot..eh…the bus, the first bus to Cirebon arrived. I ran into the bus and sat directly on my favourite position, near the window. The way was quiet, not so many vehicles and I enjoyed my own daydreaming when the conductor asked me to pay the bus fare. Jakarta-Cirebon costs IDR 70,000 (economy). However, in Kalihurip junction, there’s a traffic jam and we had to take an alternative road as the highway was still under construction. Not too long as after Cikampek, everything ran well. When entering Cirebon regency, the bus didn’t take the main road, but passed through some alternative village roads so that it can cut more time to reach Cirebon. The bus arrived to Harjamukti Terminal at 11.00 a.m.
Cirebon! I am coming! That’s the first expression I yelled. I asked some street vendors how to get two palaces. Kasepuhan and Kanoman palaces. The weather was so hot, and at the time I was wearing long jacket, skinny jeans, flat cap and handbag which made it worse. The sweaty me then took a cab to reach Kanoman palace, as my first destination. After riding around 30 minutes, the cab dropped me near Kanoman market, and then I walked alone between food stalls which crowded the market road and, oh yes, as Maulid (Prophet Mohammad pbuh birthday) celebration, there was Maulid market. I wasn’t interested to buy anything, because there’s no typical local souvenir and at the time I brought a few money.
I was starving and need some food. Then, I found a small restaurant inside Kanoman palace which sold empal gentong (Cirebonese-styled meat and offal curry) and empal asem (Cirebonese-styled sour beef soup). I ordered one portion of empal gentong and a glass of sugarless hot tea. I enjoyed the meal while looking at how the seller served her food. It’s cooked on a pottery jar with traditional wood block, so the taste is greater than when you cook with gas stove.
This was my visitation to Kanoman palace. It is unique as its wall and portal are decorated with old Chinese and European ceramic plates. I visited the museum and asked some questions about the Kanoman palace which was initially under the same throne with The House of Kasepuhan. Kanoman is younger, derived from the word ‘nom’ which means ‘young’. I also saw royal chart and Raffles’s souvenir to the sultan. The palace was not really crowded except some visitors from Jakarta who spent their holiday time there.
The House of Kanoman has got 26 buildings established around the 16th century. I just looked around some of them as I had to continue my journey to Kasepuhan Palace afterwards. Walking around the narrow streets behind the palace, looking at the daily life and surely I knew their language as Cirebonese speak an offshoot of Javanese dialect which derived since the 15th-16th century and make it different to Sundasphere. Sometimes I asked in Javanese, in the case, local Javanese and they sometimes replied me in the same language.
It’s the time to pray. After passing Maulid market’s crowds, I put my feet in the Kasepuhan grand mosque. Wow! It’s so crowded. There were many people praying, sitting down on the floor while rested. There were also some men whose attire resembled to traditional Cirebonese royal costumes. They’re guides for some local tourists who visited Kasepuhan palace. The mosque was still under renovation so then we couldn’t pray inside the oldest part of the mosque. But we can still enter to see the mihrab part. It’s a pleasure to pray in one of the oldest mosque in Cirebon.
Under the cloudy weather and some rain, I walked again along the tourist group who’re from a college in Serang, Banten. Just followed, and at least I could get many important informations about Kasepuhan Palace from the tour guide. The tour guides explained it in the place we called Siti Hinggil or high land which functioned as the rest area for the sultan and his family. I just stalked the tour group until the royal museum where we can see the royal chart (the original and replicas), as well as Siliwangi’s paintings which seemed like moving his left foot and eyes when we walked. Seems scary, but I ever saw the similar way of painting trick in Solo two years ago.
The tour was ended in a sacred well which is believed to make us younger. I didn’t wash my face there as it’s just a myth. At the end, I continued my way to Grage Mall.
I just went window shopping inside Grage Mall. I looked for Cirebonese language book in a famous bookstore there, but after an hour I found nothing. Just English, Japanese, Korean and more.,…but for vernacular? Nill! The day was getting into darker, the sun gradually went to the bed, while I was hungry again. There were several Nasi Jamblang stalls in front of Grage Mall, but I just roamed around those as they’re still empty, no visitors yet. But it’s the famous one….After half an hour, I went into one of the stall. There were various meals available, from fried eggs, gizzard satay, egg satay, fried chicken, jengkol stew, intestine stew, potato satay and many more you can choose. While the rice was wrapped with teak leaves and the aroma was good. I just had fried egg, coconut fricadelle, potato fricadelle and some vegetables with all costs IDR 13,000. Maybe I just had one rice wrap. Not more…hehehe…so worthy.
I didn’t go to other destinations in Cirebon as I had limited time and Semarang was waiting for me as the next city.
I left Cirebon to Semarang. Thank you for everything. One day, I’m gonna visit this historical city again.
To be continued….
Tangerang, 7 January 2015