IndoChina Trip ++ (Part 1)

Four months ago my friend (you can call Dhito) invited me to join his trip scouring over south east asia countries for 9 days. At the beginning, I was exciting and reluctant at once. The third thing that pop in my mind “how much it’ll costs for that trip? Is it very expensive?”. Well, I rather to say that spending your money around Rp 6 millions (total spending for trip)  for exploring 5 countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam & Singapore) in 9 days is a best decision. It was worth every penny. It wasn’t only city sightseeing, it was enlightening and full of insight. It widened your point of view by meeting different ethnic, different civilization level and culture.  We was wandering, shifting from a city & country to another in a group. Yup, a large group consist of 22 persons (i told this to a british bacpacker that I met in Bangkok, and he freaked out,”WTF are you f*cking crazy?? It is like a bunch of study tour group rather than backpackers”). honestly I thought going for travelling in a large group like 22 persons would be intricate and troubled. But In the opposite way, it was fun and pleasant. So here we are 22 indonesian backpackers who have travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh (most of destination was reached by land transportations) : Dhito, Stef, Hafidh, Rizky, Fahmi, Putri, Sukma, Rika, Ian, Gin, Pras, Benny, Jaul, Abdan, Khairul, Feby, Simon, Listi, Ryan, Laura and Pras. Thanks all for memorable and enjoyable trip.

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Figure. Here we are 20+2 backpackers. Thanks to Gin/Putri who was taking this picture (they weren’t taken by Camera)

I’ll split this article into several parts. Each part will represents a story in each country. This is part #1 : General Journey Brief & Summary. I wish it can be useful for you who want to explore the beauty and exotism of IndoChina.

The Journey itself

Well, here is our journey track from Indonesia to Kuala Lumpur and then back to Jakarta.

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Figure. Trip Route : Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur – Hat Yai – Krabi – Bangkok – Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh – Singapore – Jakarta. 

MAIN TRANSPORTATION ARRANGEMENT

From To Transportation Required Time Cost
Jakarta Kuala Lumpur Plane 2 hours 400,000 IDR
Kuala Lumpur Hat Yai Sleeper Train 15 hours 60 RM
Hat Yai Krabi Mini Bus 6 hours 400 THB
Krabi Bangkok Plane 1 hour 350,000 IDR
Bangkok Siem Reap Bus 10 hours 750 THB
Siem Reap Phnom Penh Sleeper Bus 7 hours 10 USD
Phnom Penh Ho Chi Minh Bus 7 hours 10 USD
Ho Chi Minh Singapore Plane 2.5 hours 600,000 IDR
Singapore Jakarta Plane 2 hours 400,000 IDR

                                                                             TOTAL TIME SPENT   52.5 hours

 

VISITED TOURISM DESTINATION

City (Country) Destination Entrance Fee
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Petronas Tower 80 RM
Central Market Free
Kuala Tower 60 RM
Museums
Krabi (Thailand) Phi Phi Island 900 THB(complete tour)
Maia Island
Krabi Backpacker Area Free
Bangkok (Thailand) Bangkok Night Market Free
Wat Pho 100 THB
Royal Palace 400 THB
Wat Arun 50 THB
Cao Phraya River Tour 200 THB
Siem Reap (Cambodia) Siem Reap Night Market Free
Angkot Wat Complex 20 USD
Phnom Penh (Cambodia) Royal Palace
Museum Phnom Penh
Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) Chi Chu Tunnel
Mekong River Tour
Saigon Night Market Free
Singapore Marina Bay Area
Bugis, China Town, Little India market
Garden by the Bay

 

HOSTEL ARRANGEMENT

City (Country) Hostel Address Rent/Night
Krabi (Thailand) Aonang Backpacker Hostel 375/5 moo.2, Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand +66891347664 < IDR 100,000
Bangkok (Thailand) Suneta Backpacker Hotel 209-211 Kraisi Road, Banglumpoo, Pranakorn, Khaosan/Grand Palace, Bangkok Thailand < IDR 100,000
Siem-Reap (Cambodia) One Stop Hostel #342, Sivatha Blv, Opposite Cambodia National Bank, Siem Reap, Cambodia < IDR 100,000
Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) Hongkong Kaiteki Hotel 22 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao, District 1 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam < IDR 100,000

 

BUDGETARY

My total spending for 9 days trip is around Rp 6,000,000 (it is including transportation; meals; hotels; souvenirs, etc). I herewith give you detail short list for the expenditure.
Transportation

Flight Cost Jakarta – Kuala Lumpur      : Rp 400,000

Flight Cost Krabi – Bangkok                      : Rp 350,000 (no add. airport tax)

Flight Cost HCM – Singapore                    : Rp 680,000 (no add. airport tax)

Flight Cost Singapore – Jakarta               : Rp 400,000 (no add. airport tax)

Train Kuala Lumpur – Hat Yai                 : Rp 220,000

Minibus Hat-Yai to Krabi                          : Rp 140,000

Bus Bangkok – Siem Reap                           : Rp 260,000

Bus Siem Reap – Phnom Penh                  : Rp 120,000

Bus Phnom Penh – Ho Chi Minh              : Rp 120,000

 Sub Total      : Rp 2,690,000

 

Accomodation

Hostel 2 days at Siem Reap                     : Rp 140,000

Hostel 1 day at Ho Chi Minh                   : Rp   75,000

Hostel 1 day at Bangkok                           : Rp   75,000

Hostel 2 days at Krabi Aonang              : Rp 140,000

                                                 Sub Total     : Rp 430,000

Entrance Tickets /Tours

Angkor Wat Full Package 1 day             : Rp 250,000

Tuk-Tuk for Angkor Wat 1 day               : Rp 100,000

Ticket for Wat Pho (bangkok)                 : Rp    37,000

Ticket for Wat Arun (bangkok)              : Rp    18,000

Tour Chao Phraya River (bangkok)     : Rp    75,000

Phi Phi Island 1 day full package           : Rp 340,000

   Sub Total       : Rp 820,000

 

Foods & Drinks

You can get a good meal plus drink start from Rp 40,000 for every lunch/dinner.,

For 8 days I had spent around Rp 1,300,000 in total for foods and drinks

 

Souvenirs & etc

It depends how many souvenirs and what you wanna buy. Every person has different taste, decision on this. Okay i’ll give you a little pricelist for the souvenirs (the prices are almost the same and applied for Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore).

Key holders              : 3 USD (you can get 3-6)

T-Shirt                        : 2.5 – 4.0 USD

3D Greeting Card   : 1.5 – 3.0 USD

Durian                        : 2.0 USD/kg
RUNDOWN

Saturday, May 24th 2014

09.00 – 11.00 : Flight from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur

11.00 – 12.00 : Heading to Sentra Kuala Lumpur by bus (10 MYR)

12.00 – 13.00 : lunch @Sentra KL

13.00 – 19.00 : KL Landmarks Sightseeing : Central Market, Merdeka Square, Kuala Tower, Petronas, Batu Cave

(all the destination can be easily reached by train)

19.00 – 21.00 : back to Sentra KL and dinner

21.00 – 22.00 : boarding for sleeper train KL-Hat Yai @sentra KL

 

Sunday, May 25th 2014

…….  -  11.30 : Arrive at train station, Hat Yai

11.30 – 12.30 : Looking for Money exchange,  tour agent and travel to rent minibus to Krabi, Aonang.

12.30 – 13.00 : waiting for the minibus arrive

13.00 – 17.15 : Trip to Krabi, Aonang by Minibus

17.15 – 18.30 : Hostel check-in, taking a rest

18.30 – 22.00 : city sightseeing & dinner

 

Monday, May 26th 2014

08.00 – 11.00 : Trip from Aonang to Phi-Phi Island, Maya Bay

11.00 – 12.00 : Snorkeling at Maya Bay

12.00 -13.00 : Back to Phi-Phi Island

13.00 – 15.00 : Lunch, sightseeing

15.00 – 18.00 : Back to krabi Aonang hostel

18.00 -22.00 : Shopping for souvenirs & dinner

 

Tuesday, May 27th 2014

08.00 – 09.00 : Trip to Krabi Airport

09.00 – 12.00 : Flight from Krabi to Bangkok

12.00 – 14.00 : Lunch and come to Mochit bus station to buy bus ticket to Siem Reap

14.00 – 19.00 : Visit Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Royal Palace, & Chao Phraya River tour

20.00 – 22.00 : Dinner & Enjoying Night Life (max 22.00 because of curfew in Bangkok)

 

Wednesday, May 28th 2014

08.00 – 09.00 : Trip from hostel to Mochit bus station

09.00 – 17.00 : Trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap by bus

17.00 – 19.00 : Hostel Check-in and rest

19.00 – 23.00 : Attend Night Market at Siem Reap, Dinner

 

Thursday, May 29th 2014

04.30 – 05.00 : Heading to Angkor Wat by Tuktuk

05.00 – 16.00 : visiting temples at Angkor Wat Area

16.00 – 19.00 : Back to hostel and rest

19.00 – 22.00 : Attend Night Market (buy souvenirs) at Siem Reap, Dinner

22.00 – ……… : Hostel Check out and trip to Phnom Penh by Bus at 23.00

 

Friday, May 30th 2014

…….. – 07.00 : Arrive at Phnom Penh

07.oo – 08.oo : City Sight Seeing (Royal Palace, Museum, etc)

08.00 – 15.00 : Heading to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

15.oo – 16.oo   : Hostel Check in at Saigon

16.oo – 24.00  : Enjoy night market, dinner, buy souvenirs and city sightseeing

 

Saturday, May 31th 2014

06.00 – 07.oo : Heading to Don Muang airport

09.00 – 12.00 : Flight to Singapore

12.00 – 22.00 : City sightseeing

22.00 – 22.30 : Back to Changi Airport

 

Sunday, June 1st 2014

08.00 – 10.00 : Flight from Singapore to Jakarta

 (… to be continued)

The Raid 2 : Brutal and Beautiful

Truthfully, The Raid 2 : Berandal is the most anticipated movie that I have been waiting for this year. I really have huge expectation toward this movie that starred by Iko Uwais and directed by British director, Gareth Evans. In 2011 I watched its predecessor, The Raid : Redemption. I thought It was astonishing movie but not the superior one. It was only took location at an old apartment with very linear and simplistic story, though it offered great martial art pencak silat choreography.

Rated 8.9 by voters in IMDB made me infatuated to watch The Raid 2 that would be released at Cinema on March 28th 2014. Actually I was afraid to set very high expectation since it can kills the enjoyment of watching the movie. Because of the Raid 2 I had unlocked my new achievement : watching movie at Cinema alone.

The Raid 2 : Berandal takes time 2 hours after the first sequel. Rama starred by Iko Uwais has given dreadful mission to unveil and wipe out thug Gangsters in the city by Bunawar (during a whole movie it isn’t mentioned in which city the movie takes place). There are 2 gangsters live peacefully, Japanese Gangster run by Goto Family and Local Gangster led by Bangun family.

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Figures. the three biggest Gangsters : Bejo, Bangun and Goto Families ready to rock you

Bangun has an imprisoned son  who has been living in a jail for several years, named Ucok. Rama’s mission is to befriend Ucok and becomes his trusted man as an entrance to the gangster world. So that Rama’s identity is cleared out and he is given a new name, Yuda. He sent to the prison where Ucok jailed. After released from the prison, Yuda becomes Ucok’s right hand, help him and his father to exploit lower level criminals. Bejo, a new rising gangster star, appears in the surface between Goto and Bangun family and makes a dispute. He desires to rule the gangster world by tearing down Goto domination. He doesn’t works alone. He is helped by Ucok who want to get rid of his father and then lead Bangun Family with more powerful invasion and more territories. The movie tells story how Rama, disguised as Yuda, eradicates the Gangsters and traitor who runs  police department.

I couldn’t agree more that The Raid 2 is much better than its predecessor in every aspect. It is more cruel and mayhem, more story, better fighting choreography, better cinematography, more various characters, scenes and actions. The raid 2 : Berandal injects you with more adrenaline. It’s brutal, chaos though there is an enjoyment and beauty inside them. Its story is more complex than the first sequel. It feels like watching “The Departed” (nevertheless IMHO The departed still offers better story). As the second sequel, The Raid 2 Berandal has succeeded to fix the lack of story in first sequel. The dialog also more natural and smoother than before. I must confess that the team is ingenious in choosing the sets. It was incredibly beautiful when the snow was falling. Prakoso was dying with the blood shrouding his whole body.

It is also terrific set when Rama (disguise as Yuda) fights bunch of convicts in the middle of  muddy field. The fisticuffs which adorned by the rainfall makes more dramatic situation. The car chase scene is also the great one.  I am wondering how they took that scene with such a wild and terrific angle on the main road in Jakarta. As we know that It is near impossible you can drives your car speedy in Jakarta main road without hampered by traffic. It needs a huge effort of course to convince and get permission from the police. Beyond those all, my most favorite scene (perhaps it is one of the best fighting scene I have ever seen) is “kitchen fight scene”. It’s final scene when Rama scuffles with the Assassin. They both show magnificent and visceral martial art technique. It was violent, beautiful, classy and breathtaking at once. It is outstanding!

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Figure. An astronomical outstanding final fight between the assassin and Rama (people called it ‘kitchen fight scene’)

I think the story in this movie can be developed and improved more. The actors performances are in average except for Ucok (acted by Arifin Putra). He may has saved the movie by performing strong character and sadistic son of Bangun. I believe Uko Uwais should be can more explore his acting performance in this movie as leading role. The Assassin, starred by Cecep Arif Rahman, never has a conversation, but it’s okay, he has built his character quite good. But again Ucok nailed it.

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Figure. Hammer girl and Metal bat boy, comical characters who enrich the story

Is the Raid 2 Berandal a must watch movie? It’s depends on your taste and what you are expect. If you are looking for melancholic drama, complex and brilliant story, The raid 2 doesn’t suit you. If you loathe watching bones fracturing, human slaughtering and more brutal scenes, the Raid 2 doesn’t suit you. It offers you with beautiful prominent martial art, breathtaking and adrenaline pumping scenes.  This movie is classy and terrific. For me, it is a must-see-movie for you!

Nothing to Prove Anymore, Leo

Oscar has been over. I feel disappointed because of my favorite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, won nothing. Well technically I am a fan of Leo’s movies. I started to pay attention to him after I had watched “Catch me if you can”. He played as  a trickster, Frank Abagnale Jr. My most favorite Leo’s movies are :

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The Man In The Iron Mask

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Catch Me if  You Can

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The Departed

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Inception

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Django Unchained

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Shutter Island

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Wolf of Walls Street

But among them, In my opinion the most outstanding Leo’s performance is at Wolf of Walls Street. I don’t say that his acting on his previous movies wasn’t good. it is very  good! But Wolf of Walls Street is beyond them.  He played as Jordan Belfort, a stock broker in Wall Street. He acted as outrageous, crazy, ambitious person that broke the law to runs the business. Sometimes he was crying, depressed, sometimes he was angry, mad and ambitiously had an astonishing speech rose the spirit of his employee. The most outstanding Leo’s acting is when he was intoxicated because of drugs. He acted like half palsied man even he must put much effort in order to step down through the stair. It was hilariously funny and slightly weird. He didn’t finish, he was trying to drive to home meanwhile he was under influence of drugs, he was only able to move a half of his body.

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Jordan Belfort, a briliant and passionate motivator and speaker

man in A Leonardo DiCaprio epic drug scene in Wolf of Wall street

Finally he got to home safely, even though with much dent on his fancy car. It wasn’t over, He was trying to stop his friend, Doni, communicating with FBI. The FBI agent disguised as an investor that interested to buy stock in market.  It was brilliant acting by Leo! After watching a whole movie, I recognized that Leo was deserved for Oscar through this movie. Perhaps, it was his best performance in his career so far. When the Oscar 2013 winner for best lead actor was being announced, I can saw his disappointment. He was trying to hold his cry. When I had put my best effort to something that I excited the most and then failed, indeed I would shed my tear. You are crying when you get something that you want to the most after all your endeavor that you have been through otherwise you have ended up with failure. My heart was touched when I was seeing Cristiano Ronaldo winning speech for Ballon D’or 2013. He was crying. After waiting so long, he defeated Messi, his strongest rival in La League.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s tears of joy at FIFA Ballon D’or 2013 Award. He was declared at the best footballer on the earth

Finally he has proven that he is the best football player in the world. So does Leonardo Dicaprio. He has proven that he is one of the best Hollywood actors of all time through his performance and high class movies that he had made. Nothing to prove, Leo, people know that you already a winner in their hearts.  But still, deep down in my heart  I want to see Leo wins an Oscar award someday as the best lead actor.

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Oscar 86th Academy Award : Leo hugged and kissed  the best actor winner (honestly I don’t know who he is). The Wolf of Wall Street isn’t enough to give him an Oscar Award

Bioshock Infinite : The greatest twisted ending of all time is in a game!

I was never playing Bioshock sequel before. I played Bioshock Infinite because of its tremendous rating in several games review website (and I also fans of first person shooting game in PC). Many people think Bioshock Infinite is the best game that released in 2013. So, Why do the people think Bioshock Infinite is really good game? In my own opinion, it is because of its beyond briliant story and stunningly beautiful scenery of Columbia City. Although, the gameplay is pretty solid, either not outstanding or bad.

Story

Bioshock Infinite tells a story in 1970s about a man, Booker Dewitt, a former mercenary who involved in a past massacre. His life was ruined by his own guilty. His gamble addiction habit twisted him into a great number of debt. To pay his debt, he was demanded to bring a girl named Elizabeth from a flying city Columbia. Yeah, Literally Columbia city was located above clouds. The city was built and led by Zachary Comstock, called Prophet by people of Columbia. They revered Comstock as a hero and God of Columbia. It wasn’t exaggerated, people considered Comstock able to predict the future. He had predicted that someday Dewitt will comes to Columbia to take Elizabeth from him compulsively. Oh yeah, Elizabeth is Comstock’s daughter by the way. Fight couldn’t be averted among Dewitt and Columbian Soldiers which were given order by Comstock to protect her. The rest of the story? I can’t tell you more. It is full of suprise, twist that you will never forget. It’s beyond outstanding.

 Graphic

Your eyes will be spoiled by the beauty of Flying City Columbia. Its graphic looks like Disney animation with its own manner in colors. You can walking around Columbia City and then enjoy the beauty of the buildings, railways, flying trains.

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 Gameplay.

It is first person shooting genre. You can distinguish this game from others FPS games by its special fighting ability fitur : Vigor system. It allows you to cast something like magical vigor. You can electrocutes enemy, summons raven to attack them, or manipulates the gravity. That’s fun! Nothing special in weapon’s variance. Shotgun, Carbine, Handgun, Magnum, etc are available for you. Moreover you can upgrade them by spending some money you got during the game.

 Infinite-6Well overall, Bioshock Infinit offers you beyond briliant story with unforgettable twist, great graphic and pretty good gameplay. Have you ever seen Shawshank Redemption, Beautiful Mind, Shutter Island, Inception? They are very great movie with great twisted ending. Inception presents elaborate story, even sometimes is debatable. In my humble opinion, Trust me, Bioshock Infinites is above them all in story and twisted ending.

Comic 8 Review

User Rating : 7.9/10

Genre  : Comedy-Action

Actors  : Pandji, Ernest, Mongol, Fico, Nikita Mirzani, Agung Hercules, Indro Warkop, Nirina etc

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Synopsis

Comic 8 tells story about bank robbery attempt by bunch of guys. Three unrelated teams coincidentally robbed same bank in the same time. They hijacked the bank and hostaged officer (nikita mirzani) and an old citizen (Indro warkop). Polices were given command to take them down. Realizing they were suppressed under polices attack, they agreed to work together as one team to escape with abundant money. And the rest of story it’s better unrevealed because comic 8 is full of unpredictable twists.

User Review :

Actually I was interested to watch this movie because I am stand up comedy fans. Almost all of actors in this movie are stand up comedian. So, by that fact, I had very high expectation to this movie. I had expected this movie would be hilariously funny.

After watched a whole movie, I can say that Comic 8 is much funny, but not as funny as I expected before. The movie is good, I think it’s only my expectation which too high. Honestly I enjoy more their performance in stand up comedy instead of in movie. Sometimes their jokes in comic 8 aren’t better compared with their content in stand up comedy. But still, it is very good and perhaps the best Indonesian comedy movie lately. It also offers great action effect. Slow motion and shooting scenes are the coolest! Sometimes It feels like watching action hollywood movie during gun fighting scene. The storyline is so good with unpredictable twist that (maybe) blow your mind in the end of the movie. So again, comic 8 is worth to watch. One of Indonesian superb movie has been released this year!

Lone Survivor Review (7.0/10)

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Synopsis

Lone Survivor tells a story about failed ambush of Osama bin laden. US army base sent a team, red team, consist of 4 soldiers. In the middle of their stealth interception, they got caught by native civilians. They deal with a situation to choose : kill those civilians hence they can continue their mission, set them up free in consequence they failed and back to the base. In the middle of their hesitation, the captain chose to failed their mission.  They didn’t know the big trouble is awaiting for them. A freed civilian told Taliban about US Army operation immediately. They chased US Army with massive amount of rifle armed soldiers. The fight couldn’t be avoided. The red team was attacked badly. They were shot, blown up by missile launchers. In the end, there was only one survivor, lone survivor who survived from Taliban.

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User Review

Perhaps there are already a lot of movies that tell story about US army missions in middle east.  Hurt locker, Zero Dark Thirty are two of them. This movie is good, worth to watch. An intense rifle fight will pumps your heartbeat fast. It’s not like exaggerating battle like Rambo who can kills hundreds soldiers alone. It’s more realistic and make senses movie. The wound seems real. Actually nothing special in the storyline, no twist, no tricky plot. It’s like common mainstream movies which only main character who survived at the end. Lone Survivor offers you thrilling action. After watched the whole movie, it feels like watching Battlefield 4 EA Games  brought to the cinema. Yeah I imagined they are Pac, Irish, Recker and Dunn.

Choices and Future

Sesuatu yang berdampak besar untuk diri sendiri dimulai dari pilihan yang ‘menakutkan’.  Manusia memiliki mekanisme pertahanan untuk mencari pembenaran kepada pilihan yang paling aman. That’s natural instict. ‘Pembenaran’ bisa mengatasnamakan logika atau bahkan hati kecil. Ketakutan, proses pembenaran dan suara hati kecil pada saat itu menjadi buram, tidak jelas dan tidak dapat dibedakan. Self defense mechanism bagaikan pisau bermata dua, bisa menyelamatkan atau malah menjerumuskan dalam lembah penyesalan.  Tidak ada yang tahu masa depan. Berbagai pilihan dapat membawa diri pergi terbang entah kemana. Tidak harus terbang bisa juga terjatuh keras ke tanah. Sepertinya yang paling baik memang tidak pernah tahu berbabagai kemungkinan masa depan. It will terrifies you. Deal with it, live with it, the show must goes on.