Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My 10-Minute Morning Walk

"Next station: Manggarai."

Upon hearing the announcement, I stand up and inch toward the car door amidst the crowd as other commuters going to Sudirman also move closer to the door. The iron steps are ready at the doors and I step down carefully onto Platform 3.

Another train come in on Platform 1, it's the feeder train that shuttles between Manggarai and Sudirman, and many commuters rush to the catch the train. I keep walking along the platform until I reach the entrance/exit area, where even more commuters flood the area. I tap the single trip ticket on the machine, the three-arm steel machine swing forward and I start my 10-minute morning walk.

On the first day of work at my new workplace I didn't know how to reach Jl. HR Rasuna Said from Manggarai station. I simply followed the people and my instinct. The people turned to the left and so I followed suit.

Even without commuters coming out of the station, Manggarai station is already a busy area with bustling activities of food vendors and vehicles. The ojek drivers are ready at your service, but I keep walking with earphones plugging both ears and The Temper Trap's Sweet Disposition playing loud. 

Several people stop along the way to buy breakfast, some eat on the spot and some take the food away for later. Some food options are nasi uduk (rice cooked with coconut milk, served with side dishes such as spicy boiled eggs), lontong aka arem-arem (half-cooked rice filled with diced potatoes, carrots or meat, wrapped in banana leaves and is later steamed to cook), siomay and molen bakar (banana-filled bread with sprinkles of chocolate on top). (Damn, I'm famished just writing these.) Sometimes I stop too, but most times I keep walking.

My morning walk will not be complete without the charming beasts: birds in cages chirping happily as their master provide their water and meal, goats on leash staring at me as I walk along, chicken and hens running about and cats sleeping on benches. I stroke the cat's head and continue walking.

I walk through an elevated railway track and so do all vehicles. The tunnel below the track is dark, smoky and noisy from the echoes of car honks. From there, it is a bit of a hike and one may have to catch the breath. Just keep walking until you reach Pasaraya Manggarai.

The morning sun glare graciously on the eastern sky as I wait the 66 Kopaja in front of Pasaraya. The bus is known for the pickpockets and petty crimes. Hold on to your belongings like a mother would never let go her babies. The bus is approaching and I hop on, sitting right next to the broken glass window and feeling the wind breezing through. That's the end of my morning walk and the start of my work day.

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