I was super hungry. I ate all food from my mother before a bus taking me from Palur, Central Java, to Jakarta reached its final destination. That was a rarity. Usually, I could not eat all food then let they be at my room for days. But the last trip proved to be much more torturing than before.
I left Palur at 7 p.m on Sept 4, then reached my boarding room at 4 p.m the next day. So, it took 21 hours (more or less) to finally be at the capital again. In terms of the length of journey, 21 hours is not a surprising fact. Prior to this, I spent 23 hours from Jakarta to Palur. But the latest trip was killing me more than ever.
Amid very hot and dusty roads I had to pass, traffic jams were scattered in some cities in the North Route. Now this is a very bad news because traffic jam usually took place in one or two particular cities in previous exodus seasons.
Just about two hours I left Palur, hundreds of vehicles lined up to pass an intersection in Semarang. I did not count how much time the bus got stuck on this but my mood was already bad. I was a bit relieved after we left the city and things went on smoothly until I got asleep. When I woke up, I saw darkness from the window of the seat where I was sitting. Just realized it was midnight already and the bus was moving fast. Surprisingly, Cirebon was much welcomed during the journey.
I expected to see myself touching down the city by morning but I was completely wrong. The traffic was so unbearable when the bus was passing Indramayu, Subang, and Purwakarta of West Java amid alternative routes the driver of the bus was taking. Probably, the number of private vehicles were too many that they searched for alternative ways as well, making all roads seemed to be put in a standstill. In the afternoon, the bus had yet to leave West Java. A very long queue was seen in Purwakarta. Sooner, I found out a truck was tumbled in a part of the road. The rest part of the long journey went on well after that. I was exhausted once I reached Lebak Bulus terminal. Thankfully, a very good long sleep helped a lot not to get sick because of that.
During the journey to reach home and vice versa, I caught very unique glimpses on how people tried to use whatsoever means to celebrate with the ones they love at their respective hometowns during Eid al-Fitr. Many of them went homes by cars and motorcycles. But there were a few of them who recklessly took vespa, three wheels bajaj, or even hired an uncomfortable public bus. All along the North and South Routes, I saw so many people took rest in gas stations, makeshift kiosks, public mosques, and many more. Gas stations was turned into like sudden markets as so many motorcyclists packed the areas.
This annual season gives advantage for locals. They set up small kiosks and sell foods and drinks or offer their houses as public bathrooms or mosques. Even in the middle of the night, many of them still searched for money by waiting in the edges of toll roads and offering mineral water or snacks. Best part of exodus is seeing the liveliness of the North Route with glimpses of sea lining some northernmost parts in Indramayu and Cirebon. Horror yet awesome site is a long array of high trees standing tall alongside roads in Batang and Kendal. Making me feel as if I was in a journey movie. Wonderful!