“Ships are safe in the harbor but that’s not what ships were built for”, once someone said. I’m not as wise as the man who made that quote but I suppose he was right. I’ve been thinking a lot about life and making decisions. Taking chances by stop worrying is a good savior from boredom kingdom. Yet, you must take a shot or have a go at something, whether you fail or succeed, just to find out that you are alive. That’s what makes you human.
Now, I’m not going to be wiser than that. I’ll stop my yapping about life here. In fact, I’m going to share what I found about a month ago when I took a little walk. Well, maybe not that little. I had to first take 3 buses to get there and mind you that I live in Jakarta, the Big Durian, the capital, the metropolis famous for its traffic jam. Even on the weekends, sadly.
So I went somewhere with Ruru, a good friend of mine whom I hadn’t see for ages even we’re living in the same city. It was completely blind trip. We didn’t plan it beforehand. I just asked if she wanted a photo hunting day and she said okay. We decided on where to go when we met that day. It passed midday by the way when we finally met in Sudirman area, Central of Jakarta. When I proposed for sunset photo shoots, she agreed. We were looking at the possible spots while we’re sipping our cold drinks. Oh my, it was a very hot day. We decided to go to Sunda Kelapa Harbor. I’ve been there for three times before but I’m a believer of: Every day is a different day. So why not pay another visit to that dusty harbor for once more? What could be worse than being sweaty and hard to breathe, hey?
Despite the fact that Jakarta Bay is polluted, Sunda Kelapa Harbor still has its own attractive sparks. It owns what remains from the past. It was already there since the 5th century during Tarumanegara Kindom governance. But as written in the history that in the 12th century Sunda Kingdom took over the harbor and they made it grew bigger in size and reputation. It harbored big wooden boats from all over the country and from overseas that included India, China, Arab, England and Portuguesa. On June 22nd 1527, Demak Sultanate led by Fatahillah attacked, claimed the harbor and changed the name to Jayakarta.
Long story short, Dutch took over it from Demak during Colonial era and rebuilt the harbor, expanded more than double sized of the canal and changed the name to Batavia. But in the 19th century the harbor’s popularity faded away because the superficial surface of the sea water made it difficult for the ships to harbor. Dutch opened the new harbor on a different area: Tanjung Priok, at the moment it is the biggest harbor in Indonesia. Sunda Kelapa remains as a historical site. (Source in Bahasa Indonesia: http://nationalgeographic.co.id/berita/2015/07/sejarah-pelabuhan-sunda-kelapa )
We discovered that the harbor was a little less busy than the last time I went there. Of course we could still witness those people hauled sacks of things on their back or shoulders from the boats to trucks. Some were drinking coffee from the plastic cups sold by some women, smoking the cigarettes; a few even took a bath!
What made me upset was the construction of some kind of apartments that was actually blocked the sunset view. How perfect. We were ten minutes late, anyway. We spent more than an hour for our late lunch. So apparently we missed the golden moment. That didn’t mean we didn’t like the view of the ships during sunset, though.
It’s been a nice walking. Sunda Kelapa is one of the very few historical sites left in the city. Who would know what is going to happen in the future. I hope it will still there in ten years, with the big wooden phinisi boats from Kalimantan, Sumatera or Sulawesi loading sacks of cements and sand. Just like all those centuries ago with the spices and what not. A city without historical sites to me is like a city without identity.