Run to Work

Post-run Selfie
Post-run Selfie

In Singapore, I used to run from troubles – literally. Working and studying for master degree is a hectic job, hence I run to release the stress. Starting from a simple 1 km run, I gradually improved until managed to run 7 km once or twice weekly. At that time, I either run in parks or roadsides in the evening.

Running in Bandung is not as simple as in Singapore. The parks are often overcrowded with people as it also serves as a market; while the roadsides are polluted with gas emission from vehicles. Plus, my tight schedule in Unpar and KIRI prevent me for finding a perfect time for running, other than weekends.

Early January, the semester hadn’t started yet, so I tried something new: running from home to my office at Unpar. I put my office outfit and bathing tools at the office days before, and during the run day I only brought a small bag with minimum stuffs inside.

Run Map (Click for details)
Run Map (Click for details)

I started from home around 7 AM, one hour later than planned before. The track started with small roads, where people looked at me with curiosity. While running is getting popular in Jakarta & Bali, but not yet in Bandung.

Crossing Asia-Afrika Street, I had to use the pedestrian bridge. To my surprise, the bridge is three levels high, and I had to climb up to the third level to cross the street. Not bad for a warm up, eh?

The small roads ended, and I started running at main roads like Wastukencana and Pajajaran. The main roads had their own challenges: pollution. Smokes from vehicles worried me for negative healthy effects, and the noisy engine sound disturbed my concentration. However, they were still in reasonable level.

The track was getting tougher when approaching Cihampelas: this road goes upward. Additionally, the roadside of Cihampelas are either broken or filled with illegal shops so I had to be very careful not to fall down. The traffic were getting heavier too, so I tried to use a mask that I prepared earlier. However, rather than helping, it only made breathing more difficult.

Breakfast
Yummy

Cihampelas almost ended, and I was approaching Ciumbuleuit: the last stride before reaching Unpar. However, I was quite exhausted, and this last road was even more inclined than Cihampelas. I finally decided to stop there and had breakfast at Pizza Hut to recharge.

In the end, I still need a machine to transport me to office. I took a small bus (angkot) to climb Ciumbuleuit.

Kuala Lumpur and Asian 5 Nations

Petaling Jaya Stadium

After a very long time, I finally had a chance to travel again. This time, was for Kuala Lumpur. My brother had the privilege to be the captain for Indonesia’s rugby team participating in HSBC Asian 5 Nations Rugby tournament. My dad was very excited to watch him playing, so he asked me and my wife to accompany him on this trip.

The three of us started our journey on Tuesday morning from Soekarno Hatta’s (CGK) Terminal 3. It was my first time flying from Terminal 3, and I had to admit that it was very well designed, despite its status as a budget terminal. Probably also because it was the youngest compared to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. After two hour flight, we arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), a terminal built mostly for Air Asia flights only. This time, the phrase “low cost” really made sense. From the aircraft we had to walk to the terminal building for a few hundreds meter, and one can easily gets mixed up with domestic passengers or even those who were about to board the aircraft. Later I found out that this terminal was formerly a cargo terminal and used temporarily while they are building the new KLIA2 budget terminal.

A taxi ride from the airport to our hotel at Petaling Jaya cost around MYR 100 (SGD 40). At first I was surprised by the expensive fare for such ride, but even more surprised with distance when we started riding the cab. Spanning more than 50 km, it’s more than the length of Singapore from west to east! After almost one hour journey, we checked in at Eastin Hotel and looked for something to eat for our lunch.We found a small malay food stall amidst the commercial building. It reminded me of the food I used to eat in Singapore: relatively bland taste with some extra spices to replace chemical taste enhancer.

Pascal & Gorilla DollAfter lunch, we took the hotel’s free shuttle bus that brought us to Tropicana City Mall, where we bought some snacks and bottled mineral waters for our stock at the hotel. I didn’t miss the chance to buy some packs of Old Town brand coffee. Thanks to my former colleague Ronald, I became obsessed with this brand since I left Singapore. It is very expensive to buy in Indonesia, and it’s just half price when I bought it there. We wanted to buy a local mobile number for MYR 10, but I forgot to bring our passport with us, so the seller didn’t allow us to get one. We spent the evening by visiting another shopping mall, The Curve. It is adjacent to Ikea furniture shop, but we had only energy left to had our dinner there. I had the infamous Swedish meatballs dish, but unlike in Singapore the meatballs were made from lamb instead of pork, as the majority of Malaysians are moslems. We went back to the hotel at 9 PM, with another free shuttle bus provided by the shopping mall.

The next day, was the day of my brother’s match. It would start at 3 PM, so we had some time in the morning to explore Kuala Lumpur. We took a cab to KL Sentral, the hub for various transportation modes. From there, we took the Kuala Lumpur’s Hop-On Hop-Off bus. For about MYR 35 per person ticket, we could take a double decker bus ride to 23 destinations around Kuala Lumpur. As we didn’t have the whole day, we planned for two destinations to visit: the infamous Petronas Twin Tower and Chinatown. The rest, we would just take a good look from inside the bus.

Istana NegaraWe passed about 11 stops before the Petronas Twin Tower. At some stops, the bus waited for 5-10 minutes to maintain the 30 minutes interval, as well as giving the passenger a chance to take a quick look on the tourist spot. One of the interesting spots is the Istana Negara (national palace), where visitors can take picture with one of the two guards on a horse in front of the gate. Somehow I pity them, having all those military trainings just to be the object of tourist photography.

At around 10.30 PM, we arrived at the Twin Tower. The towers were as tall as advertised, but entry ticket cost a whopping MYR 80 (SGD 32) per person. We were not sure what we could get by paying that much, but didn’t want to take the risk of disappointment. We then just wandered around the shopping mall that is located just under the tower, but had to wait until 11.30 PM for the next bus to come. We continued our bus trip, but had been exhausted thanks to our earlier activities and the heat that started to come nearing noon.

What’s left from us were regained when we arrived at Chinatown. My dad liked my idea of having a bak kut teh (sorry, it’s not halal – but turned out there’s a halal version as explained here) for lunch, so we started looking for one. After few minutes of desperate attempt to find one, I finally went to a dessert stall to ask the seller for a good bak kut teh restaurant around, in exchange for two cold puddings purchase. The bak kut teh restaurant, is called “Big Mouth”, and located in a small alley not far from the dessert stall. The delicious bak kut teh plus the surrounding made me feel like inside a Hong Kong gangster movie somehow, which was a good experience.

It was almost 2 PM after lunch, which means we had to quickly find a cab to bring us to the rugby game venue in Petaling Jaya stadium. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the exact postal address. One taxi driver refused to take us, but another one boldly accept the challenge with only the fact that we should exit from highway at SS7, and a point in low resolution Google Map, thanks to the unavailability of data plan. After about half an hour journey, we arrived at a stadium in a middle of nowhere. The taxi driver insisted that that’s the stadium we were looking for, based on the fact that’s the only stadium around. But there was no signs of a match going to happen, so I insisted him to wait while I double checked with an officer on duty there. It turned out to be true, we came to the wrong stadium. Luckily the office gladly told me and the driver how to go to the correct stadium. He even rushed us after knowing that the kick off will commence in a few minutes left.

We finally arrived at Petaling Jaya stadium. But there was another problem, we alighted at the opposite side of the stadium entrance, it was raining, and the cab had already left us. That means we had to walk half the circumference of the stadium to get inside without cover. Luckily, there was another cab and the driver was taking a break inside. Not wanting my dad and wife to get sick, I asked him for his service.

“Where?”

“That side!”, I told him while pointing my finger to the opposite side of the stadium.

Confused at first, he finally accepted the ride for a token of MYR 3 (the official minimum taxi fare).

MBPJ StadiumWe spent the first half of the game trying to find where was my brother. We then found out he was wearing shirt #7, after asking another viewer who turned out to be a Malaysian studying in Jakarta, having played for Indonesia’s Banteng rugby club. Sadly, it was an uneven match for Indonesia, as Guam beaten them 38-17. Understandable, considering short training time for Indonesia, and the captain’s injury just a day before the match. However, we heard the good news days after we went back, that Indonesia beaten China for 37-13 on the final, securing the place in division 3.

Our return to the hotel was quite challenging, as the stadium was out of nowhere. After wandering about half an hour, we finally found a cab that could take us to the hotel area. However, we decided to go back to Tropicana City Mall instead, to get some consolation ice creams and stock up our bottled water for the night. Then we took another cab to the hotel. We were quite exhausted that evening, but still had the energy to wander around the hotel area for another local food dinner. We finally picked an Malay-Indian restaurant. It was almost closing, so the menu was limited. We ordered fried rices for our dinner, and got back to the hotel to rest.

The next day, we just laid down at the hotel, waiting for our flight back to Jakarta at 3PM in the afternoon. The three of us had to finish off about ten valencia oranges my dad had bought earlier due to extreme discount at the shopping mall, an offer he couldn’t refuse. After a desperate attempt to eat one by one, I squeezed the rest of oranges to make an orange juice, with help of a clean plastic bag. It didn’t taste so bad after all, but my dad refused to drink it after he knew where I got the plastic bag from (guess yourself). I spent the rest of the morning swimming with my dad, followed by preparing our stuffs for checkout.

KLIAThe hotel’s taxi ride to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) cost almost MYR 150, but luckily I asked for another option. A regular cab cost only MYR 100. Still more expensive than taking a SkyBus from KL Sentral, but we didn’t have the luxury of time anymore. We wandered around at KLIA main building for a moment, had lunch there, and took a shuttle bus to the LCCT, as our flight would took off from there. The journey lasted for half an hour, a long trip considering both are in the same area. The check in experience in LCCT was no better than the arrival. We had to walk quite a distance from entrance to the check in counter, immigration and the boarding gate. There were limited signages, and one can easily mixed up too, when walking from the boarding gate to the aircraft. On the bright side, the airport was generally clean and well-ordered.

Our flight take off at 3 PM closed our journey to Kuala Lumpur, with most of us sleeping in the plane.

YunnieBy the way, it’s my wife birthday today; somehow coincide with the hotel birthday. Check out also my brother’s game and winning speech here.

East Coast Park Cycle

Not exactly today's picture, but it was taken at East Coast, and coincidentally I wore the same shirt.
Not exactly today's picture, but it was taken at East Coast, and coincidentally I wore the same shirt.

As a human being, I need cardio exercises regularly to keep the blood flow in the highway. However, due to my knee injury, it’s not recommended for me to do jogging, except a very light one. One alternative is to cycle, for which I have tried to do it in gym. However, riding a static cycle proved to be super boring. “Hills” are simulated, but what I see were only a small room.

Therefore this weekend I decided to go to East Coast Park for a real cycling. It took at least an hour journey by public transport from my house, so there were temptations not to go too, especially without my friends joining. I started in the morning around 10 am, and was lucky to have a friendly weather. The rain poured heavily earlier, leaving only the cloud and cool temperature when I cycled.

After renting a $10 bike, I started cycling towards the eastern side, trying to get to the corner of the park. The east corner is not an end itself, since it’s connected with a park connector towards the Changi Beach Park. However, it was too long of a journey, so I decided to go back. Then I cycled towards the western corner, but before I reached it (the corner as shown in the map), I was blocked by a construction site, which I remember had been there at least last year. So I returned back to the place where I rented the bike.

All in all, it took me about an hour to complete the 22km cycle covering the whole east coast park. It was surprising that the cycling was relatively effortless, most probably because I cycled in normal pace and of the scenery I can’t find daily in the concrete jungle of Singapore.

SCC Rugby 7s, Part 2 (2009)

After a year has passed, the SCC Rugby 7s is held again (see last year). Similar to last year event, it was held in Padang, few minutes walk from City Hall MRT. But unlike the previous one, sadly this year even has not been as entertaining as before. Why? Please bear with me.

The price of this year event has increased to $25 from previously $20. A reason for this could be of that they have extended the event by one day into a 3-day event, with the first day being a tournament for schools and colleges. However, since it was held on Friday, it’s practically useless for me. The bad news? I couldn’t just pay $20 for the 2-day event. The other part of the monies might also have gone to rent a big screen projector to show the score and replays (oh, and there’s also a big tower to record the game from the top of it). One thumb up (only) for the technologies.

However, it still did not satisfy my hunger for a good atmosphere of the games, though. On this year event, the supporters could have only less interaction with the players. In last year arrangement, it was easy for us from the benches to get into the field. Therefore during the victory (or goodbye-losing) lap, we could go down and greet the players. In this year tournament, fences separating the benches and the grass field. If one wants to go past the fence, he has to turn around from the back stairs and walk quite a distance.

Okay, enough about the rantings and let’s go to the real business. Remember that last year, Indonesia Barbarians managed to win the Bowl cup. It was a very good and unexpected achievement for a newcomer. Unfortunately, the teams that they’ve beaten last year didn’t come again this year, so it’s far more difficult to compete this year.

On the first day games, bad luck has gone into them, since they didn’t manage to score even a single try (in football term: goal). In the second day games, they managed to score few trues, but the enemies were still too tough, and they have to suffer bitter defeats, failing to come home with a trophy this year. However, it is to be noted that they have fought their best, and no one is to blame.

All in all, with all the drawbacks, the event was still good to watch. Congratulations too, for the organizer to hold such a big event in this tiny country!

Photos and videos are available in http://picasaweb.google.com/pascalalfadian/SCCRugby7s2009 (do check out the war dances!)

Clementi Sports Hall

This government-subsidized sport center provides many facilities such as badminton courts, pingpong tables, and even gym.

Gym may not as good as California Fitness nor Fitness First, but has enough equipment for people to build muscles or merely aerobic excercises. The best thing is the price. On weekdays it’s only $2.5 per entry, compared to at least $100 / month for the frachise ones.
Badminton court is good enough, but I don’t know exactly the rental fee (usually I just join the group from my office).
Pingpong tables seem good enough, but I’ve never tried.
Clementi Sports Hall is located at N° 518 Clementi Avenue 3, Singapore 129907.

SCC Rugby Sevens 2008

I was informed about the event few days before. It is in fact an annual event, inviting teams from many countries (mostly eastern side of the world) to play the Sevens-style of rugby. The game itself is very short. One game consists of 2 x 7 minutes (10 minutes for the final). Therefore the whole tournament was finished in two days (1-2 November 2008)

The entry fee was $20, but it’s worth it. Maybe because it’s the first time I watch live sport match. Or maybe because my brother took part in it. Yes, my brother is an athlete and he was one of the Indonesia’s “dream team” to play in this event. Though didn’t get the big prize, his team was the winner of Bowl tournament. By the way, the winner was SA Vipers from South Africa.
More pictures of the tournament, you can find at http://picasaweb.google.com/pascalalfadian/SCCRugbySeven
About Padang
Padang is a large grass field just in front of City Hall (the real one, not MRT). Though, it is close to City Hall MRT. Usually the field is left open with no barrier so people can play something. But for this event they created a “portable” stadium that encircles the rugby field.

Jurong West Swimming Complex

This swimming complex is located near the (newly-opened or to-be-opened, depends on when you read it) NTU extension green-line MRT station. Yes, just after Boon Lay.

With the entry fee of $2, it’s also a good spot to swim. Altough it doesn’t have as many facilities as its neighbor Jurong East, this is the only complex I found having two olympic size pools. One of the two has a rooftop, so it’s more convenient when it’s raining. There is a very high slide that you can use, and good news is you don’t need a float.
Other facilities are kids playground, jacuzzi, and stream pool.

Jurong East Swimming Complex

Despite its name, the swimming complex is nearer to Chinese Garden MRT rather than Jurong East MRT.

With slightly more expensive price ($2 for the weekends), the swimming complex provides you all the facilities to have fun as well as for excercise. Do not forget to put aside $5 from your locker, as you may need it to rent a float to use two of the three slides they have. I forgot the height, but it’s quite high! For the lowest slide, you don’t need a float; but (at least for me) it’s more exhilarating because you feel your body going down in high-speed with hardly anything you can do about it (compared with float where you can grab it).
Other facilites are stream pool, jacuzzi, children playing area, and wave pool (which operates +/- 15 minutes every one hour). The complex also provide pretty good olympic size pool, so you can excercise as well as having fun in this swimming complex.
With all the facilities, no wonder a lot of people swimming here. I feel bad to my girlfriend if I swim here, but if you are single (and looking), this is a good place to look: pretty girls in bikini and guys with sexy body are included in this “a lot of people”.

Buona Vista Swimming Complex

When I wrote this post, I just went back from that swimming complex.

Having the place near to Holland Village, expect to see some bule (caucasians) to swim there. First thing came to my head was the pool is very small. Though it has an olympic sized pool (and one kids one), the complex lacks of canteen and shelter. So you can only put your belongings in beach-style chairs provided, hoping there’s no rain. Lockers of course provided for 20-40 cents. If you are too shy to show your “thing” to public, better to not wash here after swimming. The washing rooms are not equipped with doors and there are hardly any hanger. So you wash there, then walk naked to the small table where you put your clothings. Of course males and females are separated, and my report only based on male room. But may be it’s good for.., you know, people who likes the same sex.

Queenstown Swimming Complex

Being the nearest swimming pool to my place, this becomes the most-frequenlty-I-visited (don’t know the good grammar).

The pool is best for excercise, but not for water-fun. With one olympic-size pool and one more kids pool that most of the time closed. The entry fee is $1 on weekdays, and $1.30 on weekends. The pool has no rooftop, so be prepared to wear sunblock when you swim during the day, or accept the raindrops when it’s raining. Normally the pool is not very crowded, so you can still do some laps without much difficulties.