I took a few days leave to go to Sukabumi for a spiritual retreat last week, attending a mawlid celebration led by one of my spiritual teachers, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani — who is a renown Islamic scholar and Sufi master from the U.S. My husband and my son, two of my son’s mbah (read: old grandma), my husband’s elder sister, who was driving us, and I were in the entourage.
The destination is a pesantren located in desa Cipetir (the village’s name), kecamatan Kadudampit (the suburb), kabupaten Sukabumi (the municipality). To head there, we drove south on the main expressway, cutting through Bogor and exit at jalan raya Sukabumi.
At the exit of expressways, or at connecting street intersections, many hawkers offered their simple goods — usually snacks and drinks, or newspaper — to drivers who were stuck at traffics. Here, you may also encounter beggars, who hop from one queuing vehicle to another, in hope for a penny or two.
At this junction (where the lion statue stood up high; see below), my husband cautioned me to be careful when using my gadgets next to the open window. In fact, it is strongly advisable not to roll down your car windows wide open so as to prevent impetuous outsiders from snatching your belongings unexpectedly.
The best thing about road trips is… there isn’t a single best scene. All unique scenes are memorable in their own ways, and to single out an outstanding one is simply a waste to the excluded others.
As a stopover, we picked a lovely ‘blue’ mosque on the road side of jalan raya Sukabumi. From the far, we could see its magnificent minarets, inviting us to come. The mosque’s gates weren’t unusual, however, its entrance pathway was surprisingly breathtaking. As we drove down the entrance, a view of the mosque was slowly revealed.
At the time we were there, the mosque was undergoing repainting at some parts, hence the bamboo structures (see below). Nevertheless, its comforting and spiritually uplifting atmosphere still permeated both inside and outside, encouraging its visitors to pause and relax to enjoy the air.
Spacious and intricately decorated, the mosque’s interior halls seemed so alluring to sit longer in worship and reflection.
Our stopover at the mosque ended with a road side picnic. Mbah Roh, one of my husband’s aunt, had prepared a sumptuous meal of warm rice, ikan cuek sambal (which is a type of fried fish with garlic, chili paste) and boiled green pumpkin and raw cucumber. I, being an instant homemaker, prepped a lunchbox of fried noodle with fried chicken wings and nuggets to add on. The road side picnic made our day. Yummy!
Our road side picnic ground, next to the mosque…
After a short prayer-cum-picnic rest, we continued our journey, passing through factories and wet markets along the way. The whole trip culminated at a long stretch of beautiful scenery of green landscapes, indicating we had reached the countryside before the town of Sukabumi. The aroma of ripening paddy grains diffused in the air that we breathed, instilling a yearning of returning home — to our mother earth.