Saturday, September 23, 2006

Journey to Border Land

Last week while I was in Jambi, Ifa--my co-worker-- told me that we had tickets to Balikpapan instead of Nunukan. Actually, our work assignment was to Nunukan. To reach Nunukan from Balikpapan, we have to go to Tarakan first and then fly or take a boat to Nunukan.

Coming home from Jambi on Friday night, on Sunday morning I had to fly again to Balikpapan. This time I flew with Ifa. The next day, we flew to Tarakan. Unfortunately, all flights to Nunukan were canceled that Monday :(. We had to take a speed boat instead. We departed from Tengkayu Port in Tarakan and arrived in Tunon Taka Port in Nunukan 2 hours later. How lucky we were, whether we were in Balikpapan or in Tarakan or in Nunukan, friends of Ifa's father always picked us up at the airport or port, helped us to find a hotel in town.

Kabupaten Nunukan is one kabupaten of East Kalimantan Province, covers a part of Kalimantan Island, the whole Nunukan Island and the southern part of Sebatik Island. The northern part of Sebatik Island belongs to Malaysia. Bupati's office is in Nunukan Island.

From Nunukan to Sebatik, you have to take a klotok or small boat for about 10 minutes. You'll arrive in Bambangan Port in Sebatik. And from Bambangan, you can continue your journey by car for Rp 50,000 per person. It took 2 hours (!!) to the border area of Sebatik, mostly on unsurfaced road. Sebatik Island --at least the southern part-- is mostly occupied by Bugis people from Sulawesi. They plant paddy, cacao, banana, kelapa sawit (what is it in English?) and sell them in Tawau, Malaysia. They use both rupiah and ringgit.

In the border area of Sebatik, there's no sign of borderline between Indonesia and Malaysia. We knew the information from the kecamatan's staffs who accompanied us to the area. We won't know if nobody told us about this. There are two small simple wooden portals with no guards around. I don't know why the governments of two countries Indonesia and Malaysia took a straight borderline without considering natural border (such as a creek behind the houses) or houses already built in the area.

About 250 families live in the border area; some of them live in the border line and another live in Malaysia area. For house in the borderline, the guest room is in Indonesia part and the bedroom, kitchen and toilet are in Malaysia part. They live a modest life in rumah panggung (raised house) with minimum facilities and infrastructure. Yes, there's electricity. Yes, there are schools or community health centers (puskesmas) or banks. But, there are many more facilities and infrastructure needed to be built or upgraded. On our way back to Bambangan, the car had slipped in deep mud that need some men to push the car out of the mud!

Ifa and I went back to Jakarta via Tarakan and Balikpapan. We flew from Nunukan to Tarakan with Trigana Air (Kal Star). Nunukan airport is the smallest airport I've ever seen in life. The waving gallery or the arrival area is in the edge of the airstrip. You can wave somebody goodbye from there. Nobody wave us goodbye, anyway.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Work Pressure

I'm overwhelmed. Very tired. Fatigue. Exhausted. O, old machine of mine.

There's no time to rest. Even at night, I can't sleep well (for a different reason actually: Endra is away for a while and I can't sleep well when he's not around. Hope to see him [and his oleh-oleh..... :-D] next Wednesday).

Sunday afternoon: sending files with big attachments, facing tomorrow agenda, blogging. Try relaxing?