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Friday, May 06, 2011

Togetherness beats discomfort


Aiming to give memorable trip to the grade 12 students who will leave the school in less than two months, teachers as well as the principal planned the trip that involved all students from grade 7 to grade 12; consisting of 26 students altogether. Jogja was chosen as the destination as proposed by grade 10 students because most of them rejected the idea to go to Bali with high cost as the main reason.

Day 1, 3 May 2011

The 25 students – one student asked for permission not to join due to health problem – with five teachers as the supervisors left the school around 07.45 as scheduled. We were all ‘packed’ in one cute bus that had 32 seats. With quite ‘difficult’ effort all of us could overcome the problem to arrange all of the luggage in the limited space of the ‘trunk’ at the back of the bus.

The first complaint from the students was the condition of the bus whose space was really limited especially for those who had ‘big’ bodies as well as long legs. However, not long afterwards, everybody seemed settled, munching and sharing some snacks they brought, playing games inside their respective ‘PSP’ or any other game ‘gadget’ they had; or just listening to music from their respective cell phone or ipod.

preparing to enter the area of Prambanan temples

The trip to Prambanan temples – as the first destination – was good. Before we visited the temple, we dropped by first at one restaurant nearby to have lunch at 11.30. (It was quite early lunch, do you agree? But all of us needed energy to go around Prambanan temples.) Everybody was free to choose any kind of food to their heart’s content. We spent around 40 minutes here.

It turned out that many of the students had not visited Prambanan temples yet. Although they complained about the hot weather – it was sunny – they enjoyed the explanation from the tour guide, Pak Topo. They just found out that the history of Prambanan temples could be narrated at least from three different views: first; historical view (the temples were first built in the ninth century during Rakai Pikatan kingdom); second, legendary view (the temples were made by Bandung Bondowoso to fulfill the wish of Rorojonggrang, a princess that Bandung wanted to marry), third, archeological view (some archeologists predicted that the temples were built in the ninth century and from what kinds of rocks and how old the rocks were that were used to build the temples). Btw, Prambanan temples are categorized into Hindu temples.

From Prambanan we directly headed to the inn we would stay for two nights. It took around 30 minutes. When we arrived at ‘Wisma Martha’ and saw the ‘condition’ of the inn – quite small rooms with four narrow single beds and a very ordinary toilet – some male students directly complained very bitterly. (Compared to their ‘habit’ to stay in five star hotel when they have a vacation with their respective parents. ) Trying to calm them down was the responsibility of the teachers.

picture downloaded from

“Who thought we needed to pay low? We want comfortable rooms!”
“How could we do ‘our business’ in such very ordinary toilets?”

The two questions above were the most often-heard complaint.  aha ... it seemed that the plan to give the most memorable trip to grade 12 students worked well. :-P However, the girls were very nice; they seemed to be more adaptable. (it reminded me of the ‘theory’ of ‘Survival of the fittest’ by Herbert Spencer. The girls will survive much better than some boys under certain circumstances. )

Despite the complaint about the small rooms and the very ordinary toilet, the swimming pool and the pingpong table provided by the inn entertained the students. Some boys seemed to enjoy some games of pingpong; some girls enjoyed swimming while the rest spent some time to have the ‘second’ lunch (or the early dinner?) in the restaurant of the inn.

some boys were playing pingpong ball in the pool

After taking a shower and taking some rest, everybody was ready to go to Ambarrukmo Plaza around 18.15 although it was not included in the itinerary in the first place. However, to console the students’ disappointment – in case they really could not do ‘their business’ in the toilet of the inn, they could do it in the toilet of  ‘Amplaz’  – the teachers decided to take the students to this seemingly most luxurious mall in Jogja.

Some girls directly enjoyed their shopping; some boys had fun in the ‘game’ center;  some others had a good time in one popular bookstore, the others had sightseeing.

We arrived back to the inn around 21.30. We were all supposed to go to bed early since we had to wake up early the following day.

Day 2, 4 May 2011

We had to wake up around 04.30 since the first activity on this second day was biking along Selokan Mataram. It would be better to do it in the early morning so that we would not get disturbed by the traffic and we could enjoy the fresh air.

We left for the starting point at 05.15, 15 minutes later from the plan. When we arrived in the starting point – a spot called ‘Babarsari’ – around 05.50, the bikes already arrived there. To have this activity, we rented the bikes we needed. Since not all of the students could ride a bike, there was one teacher accompanying them on the bus.

too bad my students were not as narcissistic as me

We started biking around 06.00. There was one guide showing the way; we headed to the east. The last point was one spot near Candi Sambisari. We arrived there at 07.00. Special appreciation for one student who seriously learned to ride a bike some days before the field trip, also another student who tried his best to join the biking although he was not accustomed to it so that several times he seemed almost to jump to the ‘selokan’.  Luckily we were all safe and sound when we arrived at the last point.

At 07.30 we already arrived back to the hotel to have breakfast together. Since we would start our activity at 10.00 we really had plenty of time to have fun in the inn. Some of the students played pingpong, some others played in the swimming pool and the rest had a good time in their respective rooms. The students really seemed to always enjoy their togetherness with each other. No more grumbles were heard.

At 10 we were all ready to visit the first destination, Tom’s silver, to learn the process of making ornaments or anything else from silver. From there, we continued our journey to Batik Rorojonggrang. These two places were located not far from the inn.

Around 11.30 we had our lunch somewhere near Kidz Fun. We got surprised by the coming of one student’s mother who specially came to comfort the son.  Another surprise was the owner of the restaurant who could speak English fluently. He must have heard us speaking English so that he excitedly greeted us in English. He turned out to have lived and worked in the US for 18 years!

Some of us planned to visit Kidz Fun after the lunch. However, the hot sunshine hindered some others – especially the girls – who were not excited by the idea of playing Go-Kart. Eventually, all of us even went back to the inn to rest.

At 15.40 we were all prepared to explore Malioboro street, one longest and most well-known street in Indonesia that sell many kinds of merchandise.

At 18.30 we were invited by John’s mom to have dinner at Melia Purosani hotel. She treated all of us a grand dinner, to comfort those who complained about the inn with its ordinary toilet.  We all enjoyed ourselves until 20.00. Then we went back to our inn. It in fact was raining heavily outside.

five girls in my room :)

Feeling very tired, many of us fell asleep easily around 22.30. Before that, around 20.45 some boys and one male teacher visited Kidz Fun again; they were still obsessed to play Go Kart. (Un)fortunately, this amusement park was already closed so they directly went back to the inn.

Day 3, 5 May 2011

It had been raining quite heavily since very early in the morning on this third day. Luckily all of us did not need to be in a hurry since we would check out at 09.30. Many students chose to stay inside their respective rooms since the weather was quite cold, not nice to swim or to play pingpong. We had our breakfast around 07.15. After that we all packed our luggage.

At 09.30 it was still drizzling but everybody was on time to bring their luggage back to the bus. With the help of the bus’ crew, we arranged the luggage. We left the inn around 09.40 and arrived at Sultan’s palace at 09.55. It was still drizzling.

During the tour around the palace, we got one communicative guide who explained this and that about each room we entered as well as the symbols found on the gate or anywhere. We could take pictures everywhere but one building; the batik museum where guests would find any kind of batik cloth or any other thing made by the members of the sultanate.

At 12 we left the palace. We dropped by at one shop selling some ‘oleh-oleh’ such as bakpia, geplak and some others. To fulfill the students’ want to go to Ambarrukmo Paza again, the teachers decided to let the kids have lunch there. We stayed at Amplaz for two hours, 12.30 – 14.30.

Due to exhaustion everybody went back to the bus really on time.  They no longer had energy to go around the mall for quite a long time. Besides, we all missed home already. We left the parking area of Amplaz at 14.30 and headed home. To give grade 12 students more unforgettable moment, on the bus some teachers had prepared one ‘video’ containing many old pictures of the students taken at some school events some years before. The hilarious noise of laughter really filled out the bus while watching the video!

Along the journey back to Semarang, everybody seemed excited by the trip. We all arrived back at the school premises around 19.00.

Despite the exhaustion, we all had fun and proved one important value: togetherness in friendship is really everything. It ‘allegedly’ proved to beat the discomfort.

GL7 08.20 060511


-A. said...

Sounds like a great trip (and thanks for a great telling of the story).

It's heartwarming that your students have some interest and appreciation of the history of the sites they visited.

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