Ambon, Molucca Archipelago

Indeed, the eastern part of Indonesia is breathtakingly beautiful! I have always wanted to visit the faraway Molucca Archipelago—well-known for its wonderful beaches and magical underwater views; one of the best site for diving in the world, according to my diver friends.

And I was lucky for being able to set foot there!

From the city center of Ambon or from the Pattimura Airport, it took only 30-45 minutes by car to reach this magical Natsepa Beach.

After paying an entrance fee of IDR 2,000 (or around US$ 0.2), you can enjoy the stretch of white sand and the seductive view of the faraway hills. The sea is calm and the water is clean, very ideal for bathing and swimming. Trees are growing along the beach, perfect for a shelter from the sun!

Ambon had suffered from ethno-religious clashes—the worst took place in 1999 (until recently, some countries are still issuing travel warnings for their citizens who’d like to travel to this part of Indonesia). Since then, several parties have been trying to shake the city’s peacefulness. However, the youths in Ambon won’t let it happen. Consisting of youths from different social classes, religions and backgrounds, they are trying to promote tolerance and respect through a peaceful movement, Badati Ambon.

When you’re visiting Natsepa Beach in Ambon, you have to try the famous Rujak Natsepa. There are tents along the front of the beach, with local women behind a stack of fresh fruits, selling traditional fruit salad called ‘rujak’–a suitable treat after a sunny day at the beach.

Rujak Natsepa is made of a mixture of tropical fruits: pineapple, mango, starfruit, papaya, rose apple (water guava), bangkuang (jicama/mexican turnip), and cucumber. These sliced fruits are then mixed with a paste of peanuts and brown sugar; you can choose whether you’d like to add some chili into it or not. For a plate of fresh and fruity Rujak Natsepa, you need to pay around IDR 10,000 or US$ 1.

And sipping fresh coconut afterwards? 🙂

Early in the morning, you can also walk around the traditional street-market and find fresh vegetables/spices, as well as fresh/salted fish! Ambon is a heaven for seafood lovers! 🙂

Let’s go exploring more beautiful places in the eastern part of the country! (As for the travel warning, the only warning I’d like to give you is: you wouldn’t want to go home after this).

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*) special thanks to Almascatie and friends from Badati Ambon for the hospitality 🙂

Nada.

Dia adalah nada-nada dalam hidupku. Kadang kuat, kadang samar. Tapi pada setiap langkah yang tersesat, aku selalu bisa mendengar nada-nada itu, bahkan dengan mata terpejam. Seperti pasir yang basah, seperti ombak, air dingin yang merendam mata kakiku dan dermaga yang hangat; nada-nada itu menyelimutiku seperti matahari, lautan, dan lengkingan burung-burung pantai di musim panas.

@beradadisini for Lelakiku

Belakangan aku tahu, namamu berarti nada-nada, irama, musik. Begitulah aku akan mengingatmu.

Kamu seperti nada-nada yang diterbangkan angin dari tempat yang sangat jauh. Aku menangkap nada-nada itu ketika sunyi jatuh. Seperti sihir. Aku memejamkan mataku dan mereguk suara-suara yang mengelilingi kepalaku, melingkupi hatiku, merambati jari-jemariku. Seperti Freddie dalam adegan-adegan awal August Rush, aku mendengar musik pada setiap degup jantung, denting sendok dan piring, hela napas, angin, rintik hujan, dekuk burung hantu.

Ada sesuatu dalam nada-nada itu yang membuatku ringan. Aku tidak berjalan, aku melayang.

Kuikuti nada-nada itu (tidak mudah, karena terkadang nada-nada itu memelan dan menghilang ketika suara-suara lain menelan), lalu…

aku menemukanmu.

Tetapi kamu tidak sedang menyanyi. Kamu sedang berdoa. Sesungguhnya, kamu sedang memanggilku.

You are too sweet to be true.

Raat din gardish mein hai saat asmaan. Ho rahega kuch na kuch ghabrayen kya.
Day and night the planets are in motion. Something will work out, why worry ourselves.
– Ghalib –

A wanderer told me once:

You can’t fill a glass that’s already full of water to the brim with wine. The wine will just continue to spill out. You need to emptied the glass first. The emptier the glass, the more wine can be contained. The more wine can be contained, the more wine can be poured in. The more wine can be poured in, the more wine can be sipped. It’s actually quite similar to your heart. When it’s full of past memories or future expectations, it just can’t contain the present love that is coming your way. This new love will continue to spill out. You need to emptied your heart first, ensuring that you have let go of the past and stop worrying about the future. Let your heart be vacant for a while and give a chance for the present love to fill you in.

The wanderer is right. I emptied my heart last week, and you came like a downpour. You are too sweet to be true, and I find it hard to refrain myself from being addicted to you.

Gili Trawangan, Lombok.

Going there.

It takes you 1.5 – 2 hours by car from Lombok International Airport to reach Bangsal port—where wooden boats are lining up, ready to transport you to Gili Trawangan. For the car-ride, you can choose between two routes: either passing the monkey forest or Senggigi beach. If you’re in a hurry to catch a boat to Gili Islands, you better choose the monkey forest route as it will save you more time (and you can take pictures of the monkeys along the way!).

Bangsal Port in Lombok.

Every half an hour, there will be a boat leaving from Bangsal port to Gili Trawangan. You can buy a ticket for IDR 10,000 (or around US$ 1.2). The boat will carry tourists, locals, as well as bicycles and vegetables. In around 20 – 30 minutes, you’ll reach Gili Trawangan.

The boat that will take you to Gili Trawangan.

Gili Trawangan

Gili Trawangan is one of three islands in Gili, the two others are Gili Air and Gili Meno. If you prefer to have a more secluded atmosphere during your stay, Gili Air and Gili Meno will be a better option. Gili Trawangan is relatively more lively, with rows of cafes, restaurants and bars, that open for 24/7.

Gili Trawangan. The village is hidden behind the lush canopy of green.

Gili Trawangan is a small island. You can go around the island for 2-3 hours by bike. Cidomo is how the locals call their most ‘lavish’ mode of transportation: horse cart/wagon. Usually it will cost you IDR 50,000,- per trip (US$ 5). Apart from horse cart, you can either rent a bike for a day, or simply walk around. There’s no car or motorcycle in Gili Trawangan. The air is definitely not being polluted by motor vehicles’ exhausts, but you just need to get yourself used to the smell of horse’s feces 😀

Cidomo, or the horse cart.

The village

If you don’t mind to get your feet soaked in mud, walking around the village early in the morning can be a bliss. Just watch your step and be mindful to the sound of cidomo approaching from in front/behind you, then step aside. The people in the village are very polite and friendly; you won’t get a stare/impolite comments though you’re a girl strolling around by yourself. If you smile, they’ll nod and smile back.

Here are some of the gorgeous views I captured during my morning walk:

The chickens.
The pretty horse. Disney-like, don’t you think?
This is the way people transport goods around the island.
The droplets left by the morning rain.

There are no police officers in Gili Trawangan. According to the Cidomo driver, having police officers around make people think that the island is not safe. Usually, the locals will catch the robbers/pickpockets by themselves, beat them up to teach them a lesson, and then they will be humiliated by being ‘paraded’ all around the island. Does this kind of law-enforcement work? Probably so. My friend lost her wallet in the afternoon, and later in the evening, a Cidomo driver actually returned the wallet back to the hotel where we stayed.

The restaurants.

Along the beach, you can find stretch of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

If you’re into organic and healthy food, you can stop by at Egoiste; and if you’d like to enjoy the best grilled seafood in Gili Trawangan, drop by at Scallywags after 6 pm, and pick your own lobsters/fishes (the restaurant is open since early morning, but the grilled menu will only be served after 6)!

The view from Scallywags. How lovely!
Storm beer: an organic beer brewed in Bali, served at Scallywags
Fresh lobster at Scallywags, ready to be grilled.
All the fish is caught in local waters, using environmentally friendly methods.
Before sunset at Scallywags.
Free salad bar at Scallywags.

Don’t forget to enjoy the famous Gili Gelato for dessert afterwards; you can find their ice-cream counter along this stretch.

If you’re into psychedelic experience (unfortunately, I got high only by looking at the ocean!), magic mushroom (Psilocybin) is sold free in small shops/marts. A bottle of ‘mushroom juice’ (the size of small mineral water bottle) is sold for IDR 200,000 (US$ 23). In bars and restaurants, they are also offering marijuana quite freely, especially to foreign tourists.

Magic mushroom.

The Internet connection

Should you need to connect the Internet, there are lots of cafes/restaurants with free wi-fi access. But I should remind you: it won’t really work. If you really need a relatively reliable connection, go to the Internet cafes. You rent a computer and the Internet connection for around IDR 24,000 per hour (US$ 2.8).

The beach

What can I say? This is one of the reasons why people come to visit Gili Trawangan at the first place 🙂 Should you like to dive, go visit Trawangan Dive (find Graham if he’s around)—and they’ll help you with everything: from planning your diving trip to preparing all the equipments needed.

The glass-bottom boat.
Lovely afternoon by the beach.
The boat.
The mist came down in the afternoon.
Just perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
Boats in different colors and shapes.

OK, seriously, I want to go back! 🙂

I am lost in you.

I am lost in you.

The gravitational pull of your thoughts draws me in. It envelopes me in such a dreamlike mood: the world seen from a lover’s eyes. Everything’s amazing when you’re around. The sky is pink and purple. The clouds are watermelon marshmallows. Everywhere I turn, I see beauty. Everywhere I go, I see you.

I am lost in you.

Lost in thoughts. Lost in the spiraling current that is drowning us to the core of each other’s hearts. Both are lifeboats, floating in a deserted ocean, somewhere in the midst of solitude. The sweet-scent of the mist delivers our longings, wafting through the stormy seas, bursting at the tip of our lips: May the universe be with you. May all beings be free from suffering.

I am lost in you.

A distant world where things are inaudible and invisible, where every touch is sunlight and every kiss is raindrops. I might have resided within you, you might have breathed me in. In quietude, we caress the divine countenance of midnight. We are the whispers of the winds on drizzling evenings. We are the silence that breaks at dawn, saluting the rose-tinted sun. We see shrines of gold colors lining up, showing an uninterrupted path from here to there, from me to you: Hi, handsome…