Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Only one word can describe my recent trip to the country of Indonesia. Amazing.
Day 1 - So the moment the plane left KLIA for Jakarta, I had a ride of my life. Okay, it was rather bumpy (even more so than my flight to Manila last year) but everyone on board was rather nonchalant about it. Eventually I got used to the ups and downs of the plane.
I arrived at the airport with none of my friends waiting for me (they were actually late) so I went around hoping to find a wifi hotspot. No such luck, so I got myself a pre-paid card and sat at a corner to wait for my friends after calling them up. The airport's really crowded with tons of tourists, police and taxi drivers milling around even though its a weekday.
Soon enough, my friends (Orochi and Vienni) found me and we happily went along our way to my hotel. The trip took around 2.5 hours due to the heavy traffic so we spent time catching up on things. Luckily the hotel's very decent despite its age, the staff gave me a free room upgrade and threw in a few extra incentives. All's well and good!
Ended the first day with 'supper', met with some of my Indonesian friends at Grand Indonesia. Didn't stay up that late due to my tiredness, I was already snoring in bed the moment I arrived back at the hotel after the gathering...
Day 2 - Woke up, had a really nice buffet breakfast at the cafe. A bunch of Partai Demokrat people mingled around, seems like they had booked a good part of the hotel for some event over the weekend. Everyone (hotel staff, taxi drivers, etc) were very polite and accommodating so far.
Decided to check out Plaza Senayan while waiting to meet up with another group of friends. So I took a Blue Bird cab to the shopping mall, a really comfortable ride although the traffic can be a bit scary in comparison to Singapore or Malaysia. The mall has metal detectors like those you see at the airport, and coincidentally I discovered Kinokuniya there! I ended up buying a book.
After an hour or so, my friends show up and we headed to a nearby stadium for the GARO photoshoot. Finally get to meet Richfield again, as it's been a while since our photoshoot during AFA last year. I was then introduced to the cosplayers, photographers, helpers, and Mark Musashi. Mark is well known in the tokusatsu community for his various movie/game/television roles, so initially I was feeling a bit stressed working with him. He proved to be a very down to earth and friendly person, so the stress went away pretty quick!
In addition, I get to meet Naoki Drachen in person as she dropped by for the photoshoot. She's friendly and cute!
After the photoshoot, we went for dinner at Blok M. The dinner's held at a Japanese restaurant where I was introduced to some of the CLAS:H crew members/organizers and the remaining judges for the event. The only judge left that I was not introduced to was Kaname so I greeted him and presented him my name card. In return he asked me to try some sweet delicacy that he brought along from Japan... everyone has tried it except for me!
Dinner ended late, with a lot of chit-chats and laughters. It was soon time for me to head back to the hotel, but I am already looking forward to CLAS:H itself...
Day 3 - Woke up early again as I was meeting a friend for breakfast. Spent the time catching up before heading to Balai Kartini, the designated venue for CLAS:H.
The place seriously reminds me of the venue for Comic Fiesta last year. Same kind of lighting, same size too! But thankfully the crowd is smaller, so I was able to roam around easily and meet up with the local cosplayers to trade name cards.
Most of the action took place within the performance area though, so I covered the stage together with a few other official photographers. The stage was well lit so I had no problem with getting the exposure right, but the fast and furious action sequences by the cosplayers proved to be a challenge. When they say some of the props will get broken due to the stunts performed, they are not joking!
The emcee's great. His name is Choky Sitohang and he's really good at engaging the crowd, drawing laughs at all the right moments. Just pure wow. And Mark also engages the crowd in his own charismatic ways.
In conclusion the event's really fun, so well done to the organisers for a good job. After saying goodbye to the winners and the other participants of the cosplay competition, I head off for dinner with another group of friends and thought "Well, that's about it. Just a short shoot with Naoki tomorrow and off I go back to Kuala Lumpur."
Well, it's not that simple I guess. :P
Day 4 - Naoki asked me if Kaname and Team Drachen can join in the shoot. I was like "ok!" and pretty soon the shoot involved a few more photographer friends with other cosplayers joining in as well.
I reached the location early in the morning. Called Kota Tua, this classic looking part of the city was actually Old Jakarta aka Batavia itself! Wow, talk about past history lessons being useful here. I befriended a few of the locals there and took some photos of them, then wandered around before settling at Kantin Mega Rasa, a haven for Jakarta photographers.
Long story short we had some delay in getting the shoot started, and I was left with only an hour or so before I had to take a cab to go to the airport. But Lady Luck smiled upon me as both Naoki and Kaname were ready in the nick of time. Lots of funny moments, too bad all good things come to an end as I bade farewell to everyone...
... and here's the end of the long entry of the trip. I really love the food there (buffet rocks) and my friends there have been hospitable to me. Photos are at the respective links below.
Trip photos - Here
CLAS:H - Here
GARO: II - Here
Final Fantasy: Advent Children (Special) - Here
Coming up next... pretty much nothing apart from a few shoots, so stay tuned!