SHOOTING THE BREEZE

Welcome to Ancol

ANCOL: I am always drawn to water although I’m absolutely terrified of it.  Being an urbanite, I was never surrounded by water and my parents never really approved of public swimming pools. The beaches in my father’s hometown were the nearest I could get to bodies of water when I was growing up, which wasn’t always a frequent occurrence. Still, I never learnt to swim, overcome by the trauma of being engulfed unexpectedly by water twice. However, despite the phobia, shooting the breeze by the sea never fails to calm my nerves.

Walk off the niggling thoughts

Unwinding in Ancol (pronounced An-chol) was how Apo and I ended our tour around Jakarta during his weekend visit in April. Located in North Jakarta, Ancol is the capital city’s recreation venue where the locals – families, singles and students – go for fun, relaxation and getting lost in one’s thoughts.  My students, in fact, planned a trip to Ancol’s Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy World), or Dufan, when they had a day off from their studies last April.  Dufan, I guess, is Jakarta’s answer to Disneyland with its host of rides and attractions of which the latest is Tornado (2007).  The other attractions are SeaWorld, an oceanarium with a panoramic view of the sea through an 80-meter tunnel; an 18-hole golf course; a marina for all kinds of water activities; and the outdoor Pasar Seni Ancol where art lovers can hunt for puppets, woodcarvings, paintings etc.

Enjoy the sea in or out of the water

I prefer heading to the beach every time I’m in Ancol. I like the idea that you’re left alone to your thoughts although there are a throng of people around. It seemed that the beach area had undergone major renovation work because the bridge-over-the-sea I walked on wasn’t there before. The beach area where it was safe to swim was considerably smaller then but not anymore. Work was still ongoing on one part of the beach – mostly finishing touches like cementing – when Apo and I walked the bridge and round the beach area.

It started to rain when we got to the shore so we made a beeline to the nearest shelter, A&W restaurant like the rest of the beach goers. While waiting for the rain to let up, enjoying cone of chocolate-vanilla soft serve ice cream called Monas (in honor of the national monument) was a good idea.

Savor the mellifluous whispers of the sea

Photography by Alvin Tismo and Apo Aguila

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by khaled talib on May 2, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Nice article..well written

    Reply

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