Amal Nadiah is a geologist, an aspiring writer who writes regularly on her blog, Boots Over Books and a columnist for NST flair, in her bi-weekly column, Amal Muses. Recently, she published her debut fiction novel, DUMPED - A journey of Lessons Through Breakups, Mishaps and Misadventures. An adventurous traveller, she shares with us a short snippet of her trip to Indonesia...and how she survived in a bus....with a live chicken no less!
On a backpacking trip across Indonesia, my friends and I took the local bus from Borobudur to Yogyakarta. We wanted to be adventurous and ended up crammed into a mini-bus with no air conditioning and no open windows.
I was lucky I got a seat. I sat in front of a man with a sack containing a live chicken. Yes, you read that right. The chicken sat there patiently in its seat without so much of a cluck. You can see how strange it was to have this chicken on the seat, given that so many other people had to stand in the bus isle.
Halfway through, a man with a guitar came onboard. In the already packed vehicle, he started playing songs. He spotted me and my large backpack that screams “tourist” and asked for some change. It felt like a hundred degrees inside the bus and I was sweating profusely. I fell asleep and ended up at a different town, not at all where we planned on going.
When I look back, these memories – as stressful as it was then – brings nothing but a smile to my face. I mean, if traveling is all about experiencing new things – riding the local bus with a live chicken is definitely up the list. Opting for a more rugged method of travelling is often the best way to discover the more stripped-down version of a place. It either shakes you up to new better outlooks, or it reaffirms that what you already have is worth being grateful for.