Tag Archives: bali

The Book.

“I think I’m going to move to Ubud for a while, maybe for 3-6 months,” I typed on my WhatsApp.

It was a cloudy Monday morning in Ubud. I was sitting cross-legged on the front porch; trying to decide whether I would go for a swim or not before meeting Alfred later in the afternoon.

Ubud, Bali

My phone vibrated.

“Moving to Ubud? And doing what?” Alfred’s words popped up on my screen.

“I don’t know,” I typed back. “Writing my book…”

An emoticon laughed at me. “Seriously?!!” Alfred replied. “Who the heck wrote a book in Ubud? Even Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t write her book in Ubud!”

And of course, he was right.

***

I decided to spend 2 weeks in Ubud; thinking that I would finally have the time and solitude to write The Book. These past few months, I had restrained myself from publishing any posts from my traveling journeys in Malaysia, Yogyakarta, Flores, and India–simply because this tiny (annoying) voice in my head kept saying: “Don’t post them now! Those stories will appear later in The Book!”

The Book is supposed to be my first non-fiction book: a travel memoir–and I have everything I need to finish it: a title, a premise, a rough outline…I even had almost 80% of the stories typed. All I need to do is type the rest of it, rewrite some parts that don’t come out as strong as I intended, and organize them to create a flowing narrative of 297 pages. It sounds so simple and easy, yet I had missed my deadline. Twice. I have no excuse, and I don’t intend to start finding one.

Every day, as I woke up to the sound of the morning in Ubud, I told myself that I needed to sit down and wrote a few pages for The Book, today. I needed to create my own Ubud’s book-writing timeline and stick to it.

I ended up doing everything but writing The Book.

***

Ubud kept me busy.

I bumped into some old and new friends (who happened to know each other)–and spent some days conversing with them on the back porch while munching on mangosteens. There were some days when I was on fire: typing around 6 proposals for several movements and social projects that I was about to pursue, as well as making business plans for some friends of mine–just because I felt this rush of enthusiasm and inspiration needed to find an outlet.

There were some days when I didn’t really have anything to do. And for some unexplainable reasons, on those kind of days, I kept bumping into people who practiced Reiki, spiritual healing, channeling, or yoga… to one point whereby I met a friend of a friend, and somehow ended up in a house full of statues and crystals by the rice fields near Penestanan for a kundalini meditation session–all the while asking myself, “What the heck are you doing, exactly?” and immediately answering back, “This could be an interesting story for The Book!”

When I didn’t bump into those interesting flocks, I went out for coffee or some healthy meals in one of those organic restaurants sprawled around the town; then walked around aimlessly for around 2 to 3 hours–checking out different alleys and shops and gelato bars, too lazy to even snap pictures. Other days, I would hang out with the staff at the hotel–conversing all night long by the pool while being bitten by mosquitos, listening to their life stories, and ended up explaining about meteors, eclipse, and earthquakes (“So, it’s not because of the dragon that is moving under the earth’s surface?”).

But most of the times, I would find myself sat lazily somewhere: reading a book, sipping watermelon juice, watching people, and then went back to my hotel–took a cold shower, wrote a long letter for my muse, and fell asleep.

It sounded like a vicious cycle, but the funny thing was: it actually didn’t feel vicious at all. I wanted to feel guilty because I didn’t touch The Book while I was in Ubud, but I just couldn’t.

***

It has been around a month since I got back from Ubud, and this week, I started to revisit The Book again. I realized that a ‘rough outline’ I have at the moment was not enough. This time, I committed to tighten it, restraining myself to edit (and re-edit) my stories before I could get that nice flow of narratives mapped out in a final outline.

It was not an easy task. To be honest, I hate making outlines–especially detailed one with so many bullets and sub-bullet points. I always think of myself as a ‘spontaneous writer’ and outlining just doesn’t work for me. However, deep down inside, I know that I won’t go anywhere if I am still unsure of where I should place my stories on The Book. I can keep on rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and it will never get done. The stories will simply get lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Ubud

And then it hit me. Right there. When I thought about ‘getting lost’.

I laughed at myself for a while, as I realized that ‘getting lost’ was actually my way of exploring a city when I travel. I am too lazy to read a map, I am not good in remembering routes (too busy noticing the small things along the way), and I get disoriented quite a lot–to the point that I could even get lost in a big shopping mall. I don’t plan things. I don’t keep a list of places I want to see. I don’t aim for landmarks or museums or souvenir shops. I just… go.

Now I know why mapping out The Book’s outline feels so darn hard since the very beginning.

Walking around aimlessly, not really heading anywhere, and letting the city I visit opening itself up to me as I get lost in it–that is how I travel. And The Book, indeed, is my travel memoir.

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I’m Carrying ‘The Beach’ Inside My Pocket.

Have you ever fantasized about your ‘paradise’? Like where it would be, what the surroundings would look like, what kind of people would be there with you, what kind of activities they would do on a daily basis, what kind of a ‘perfect life’ you would experience there? I came across a paradise last month. It was very close to the paradise I had always imagined: a stretch of beautiful beaches, an island where the sun shines all-year long, a place that is both culturally and spiritually rich, a bunch of wonderful people who radiates positive energy and beams with smile and enthusiasm.

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Experiencing ‘paradise’ is fantastic. I could say that it was the most magical thing I have ever experienced in 30 years. But do I want to live there?

That paradise came to me by end of August through an event called Awesomeness Fest. I wouldn’t explain further about the event here, because you could actually go to their site and check it out if you’re interested to know more. To make the long story short: the experience was life-changing.

Imagine this: you are stranded in a beautiful place, surrounded by beautiful people–inside and out. People who are constantly trying to make the world a better place to live. Everyday, you eat delicious healthy meals, work out through a series of wonderful activities (involving mind, body, and soul), hang out by the beach from midnight until dawn, pour your hearts out to the people sitting next to you, write some love-notes to appreciate other people’s kindness. Everyone is genuine, friendly, warm, and open-minded. You dance. You sing. You laugh. You cry.

Awesomeness Fest Awesomeness Fest Awesomeness Fest It’s like a dreamland where you’ll feel so loved and liberated because you can simply be yourself. Because no one will judge you. The positive energy flows so strongly–that even in your down times, you can’t help but feeling much better in an instant because an overflow of wonderful people is always around to hug and comfort you, hold your hands, crack some jokes to make you smile, or simply sit there in silence with you.

Awesomeness Fest Awesomeness Fest Do you know the movie The Beach–from Alex Garland’s novel with the same title? If you’re not familiar with the novel or haven’t watched the movie, you can read the summary (spoiler alert) by clicking here, but in one and other way, Awesomeness Fest feels like The Beach to me. Well, not to that certain extreme, but it felt like I had found my beach. My paradise.

http://wearesuperfantastic.com/2011/02/the-beach/

However, just like all the characters in The Beach, we all needed to go back home–wherever that is. It was hard to do so after experiencing such a blissful moment. I had to confess that a part of me wanted to ‘stay’ there forever, but one of the things I learned in paradise made me decided to leave that place with happiness and gratitude.

I have had my fair share there. As tempting as it would be, for me, once is more than enough. I have been lucky to experience something so profound, and now it’s time to share the paradise with others, and it’s time for me to extend that bliss and touch more lives. It doesn’t matter where I am today, because I have carried the paradise inside of me. It is no longer a place. It has manifested into a feeling. I am carrying The Beach around, now, inside my pocket. And I want to share it with you.

Because reality is wonderful, too. And I do want to live there.

And me, I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for, because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and when you find that moment… it lasts forever.

- Richard, in The Beach

*)written with love and gratitude to my fellow AFesters. you are all wonderful souls. I am honored to have crossed path with all of you. I see you. I am here.

 

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What if you already know all there is you need to know?

I guessed it was around 9.30 pm. I had just refilled my glass with another dose of gin and tonic, then stood there near the pop-up bar for a while, examining the room while adjusting the green snake around my neck. In front of me, Gods and Goddesses–as well as Devils of all kinds–were dancing happily and conversing loudly, as if that evening Heaven and Hell opened up their gates for each other. That was when I noticed a guy standing alone, fifteen steps away, with a wooden fan. He didn’t seem like a God or a Devil. So I walked into his direction to find out. Turned out, he was a God slash Devil in disguise.

I wasn’t high. I didn’t imagine this thing.

This was exactly how I met Len Branson, in a costume party in Nusa Dua, Bali, during an event called Awesomeness Fest (I know, the name of the event may sounds a little bit odd and peculiar to you, but bear with me for a while on this one, and I’ll write more about Awesomeness Fest in a few days!). That evening, I simply walked up to Len and smiled. “Hey, we haven’t met!” I shouted to beat the thumping music at the background, and introduced myself. This was something I wouldn’t do two years ago. Walk up to a stranger and introduced myself would give me the creeps. I could have done it, but I would have chosen not to. I realized how much I’ve changed since then.

During my conversations with Len, I found out that he had produced a spiritual-experiment documentary called Superwise ME!, where 9 ‘gurus’ from various backgrounds and 9 ‘witnesses’ spent 9 days in a monastery in Andalusia, Spain, in an attempt to answer 9 important questions in life. “Watch it and let me know what you think,” said Len. “I really want to hear your opinion about it.”

Superwise MeI watched the documentary this morning, on my dining table, with a cup of white tea. My eyes welled up with tears at various scenes. It was such a profound way to begin my Sunday. The documentary Superwise ME! posted some questions I should have asked myself more often; questions I wish to discuss more openly with my closest friends when we spend our time together, lazying in a coffee shop:

  1. Who am I and what is God?
  2. How do I deal with illness and mortality?
  3. How do I get rid of my fear and handle the negativity in me and around me?
  4. How do I know what I really want?
  5. How do I become happy and stay in balance?
  6. How do I love myself and others?
  7. How do I forgive myself and others?
  8. How do I let go and release?
  9. How do I get in touch with my inner wisdom?

What if we already know all the answers to these questions, because we are all superwise? :) I can’t remember the last time I asked you to do something for me, but this time, I am asking you to please, take your time to watch this documentary and spread it around to those you think would benefit from watching it*. I believe it will evoke something that has lain dormant inside of you for quite some time. Let’s go back to the times when we were young, when we were still questioning things while enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

Superwise MeSuperwise MeSuperwise Me

*)I know for some of you (especially if you’re in Indonesia), watching this movie in YouTube sounds like a nightmare, considering the Internet connection and all. If you’re in Jakarta and are interested to watch this movie together with a bunch of friends, probably we can arrange a movie night :)

And don’t forget to also check out Superwise Telesummit if you’re craving for more (sign up from that link), where you can listen in to a bunch of great speakers online, for free! Each speaker in this event has traveled the road to self-discovery, been where you are, and have lovingly agreed to join together in creating ripples of awareness, giving you a look, into the world of possibility. This free virtual event is featuring one speaker each day, who will share their own personal experience, tips, tools and techniques that you can begin applying immediately, as you step into your own personal power and discover what has been within you all along.

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Making Batik in Ubud: Susuwatari Spotted A Lotus.

Batik (/ˈbætɪk/ or /bəˈtiːk/; Javanese pronunciation: [ˈbateʔ]; Indonesian: [ˈbatɪk]) is a cloth that is traditionally made using a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on October 2, 2009. 

I had always wanted to learn how to make batik. The hot wax, the tracing of the lines, the coloring, the patience… I found the process both beautiful and calming; like a meditation practice. The opportunity to learn how to make batik came to me not in Yogyakarta or Solo, but in Ubud, Bali. Adit introduced me to Pak Nyoman and Ibu Rai, who own Nirvana—a small inn/gallery hidden in the midst of Ubud’s touristy Gautama Street.

Adit batik

Pak Nyoman is an Ubud-born painter who works with batik, oil paint, and water color. He had been an artist-in-residence at Bondi Pavilion, Sydney and Toorak College, Melbourne, lectured at John Kennedy Hall, Guam University, and exhibited extensively in Australia, Italy, Guam, Japan, Singapore and Switzerland. One morning, together with Adit and his cousin, Uma, I spent a day in Ubud to learn how to make batik.

The very first thing to do is to draw a pattern on the cloth with a pencil. Since it was my very first time, I decided to draw something simple and playful. I ended up drawing Susuwatari (wandering soot/ススワタリ)—that appears in Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away; who got curious due to a sudden appearance of a lotus.

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Once the drawing is finished, we continue to the second step: tracing the lines with hot wax. Dip the “canting” pen into the hot wax and make sure the canting isn’t too full, or else the wax will spill out. Before tracing the lines, blow the tip of the canting pen to make the wax flows easier. We need to concentrate during the tracing process and keep the canting pen at the right angle to ensure that the wax will continue to flow without spilling over.

batik susuwatari

batik susuwatari

Next, a more relaxing process: coloring! Don’t mix the paint with too much water if you’d like to have a vibrant color. Uma worked on a Balinese drawing with Balinese color that day—the kind you’d be seeing in cloths sold at some small shops along Kuta or Legian street stretch; while Adit worked on something more Japanese with the drawings of a fish in a pond.

batik susuwatari

batik susuwatari

batik

Once the coloring is done and the paint is dry, we need to go back to the hot wax. The next step is to glaze the paint (colored areas) with hot wax. We don’t use canting pen for this. We use a brush instead. Dip the brush into the hot wax, and glaze, dip and glaze, dip and glaze. You need to ensure that the colored surface has been glazed perfectly. You can check this by turning the cloth over; the spots you miss will be visible. Pandjul—the son of Pak Nyoman and Ibu Rai helped me in checking the missed spots and glazing them; while Bocil, the family dog, was waiting for us to finish with sleepy eyes.

batik glazing

bocil

After the glazing, the next step is to color the whole cloth. You can pick the color that you like. The cloth will then be dipped into a color solution of your selection.

batik susuwatari

And then, it’s time to get rid of all the wax in your cloth. How? By dipping the cloth into a pan of boiling water, of course!

batik

After that, you need to put your cloth to dry… and then you can see the results. Adit and Uma’s cloths turned out seriously stunning and beautiful! They are so talented!

batik

batik

And this one is mine. My batik cloth: Susuwatari Spotted A Lotus :D

batik susuwatari lotus

Would you like to learn how to make batik, too? If you’re in Ubud one day, come early in the morning to:

Nirvana Gallery
Jalan Gautama 10, Padangtegal Kaja, Ubud,
Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. (80571)
Phone : +62.361.975415
E-mail : info@nirvanaku.com
Website : http://www.nirvanaku.com

and please pet Bocil the dog for me!

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Hiding in Bali: Here and There.

I spent another week in Bali this October. The actual plan was to meet up with Adit and Ney for our #PecahdiUbud routine at Ubud International Writers & Readers Festival; but I intentionally came a few days earlier, wanting to savor Bali by myself. No wild parties, no shopping spree. I spent those days to walk around aimlessly in shorts, sleeveless top and flip-flops: eating out, having cocktails or coffee, writing, reading, and daydreaming.

And these are some of the places where I had been hiding, alone:

Cocoon Beach Club, Jl. Double Six no. 66, Blue Ocean Boulevard, Legian.

Just come early in the morning (while it’s still empty) for breakfast, plunge into the swimming pool every once and a while, and then spend the rest of your time sunbathing while reading some good books.

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Bali-Cocoon2

Bali-Cocoon3

Gusto Gelato & Caffè, 67 B Jalan Umalas 2, Kerobokan, Seminyak

A tiny gem in Kerobokan! Located inside a small road, these gelato shop is offering the most delicious gelato I’ve ever tasted so far. And it’s cheap, too! For USD$2 or around IDR 20,000, you could have one luscious cup of gelato; and the portion is generous! Don’t forget to try the chocolate chili. Amazingly hot and spicy!

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Bali-Gelato3

Bali-Gelato1

Kunyit Bali, Jalan Kartika Plaza, Kuta.

Craving for some Balinese food? Stop by at Kunyit Bali. Lovely place, good food (the crispy duck is amazingly delicious), friendly staff, cozy ambience.

Bali-Kunyit

Nammos Beach Club, Jalan Villa Kandara, Banjar Wijaya Kusuma, Ungasan.

Located inside the luxurious Karma Kandara resort, you need to pay USD$35 to ride an elevator down to Nammos Beach Club (the elevator ride is free for the resorts’ guests). From that particular amount, the USD$25 can be spent later on, at the beach bar, to order some food and drinks. Though it’s quite expensive, I just love the beach club. I love the service. I love the fact that you can just leave all your belongings if you’d like to go for a swim—because the staff will look after it (very important when you’re traveling alone). I love it that they have a drink called Hemingway Daiquiri.

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JuMaNa Bar, Banyan Tree Ungasan, Jl. Melasti, Banjar Kelod, Ungasan.

They said you need to have a reservation first for dinner. I came at around 4:30, saying that I just wanted to chill at the bar, and then a golf cart came to take me down from the lobby of Banyan Tree hotel to JuMaNa Bar. I sat outside, sipping their signature cocktail JuMaNa Royal (champagne flavoured with yuzu essence and Moroccan rose petal water) that tastes as ‘royal’ as its price, waiting for the sun to set.

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Bali-KarmaKandara

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Corner Store, Jln. Laksmana 10A, Seminyak

Lovely place serving healthy meals; perfect for brunch or coffee-time in the afternoon. I fall in love with the smoked salmon bagel.

Bali-Cornerstone3

Bali-Cornerstone

Bali-Cornerstone2

Blue Point, Uluwatu.

When some friends from abroad came to Bali, I always take them to Blue Point, Uluwatu. Nothing much to do but to chill while drinking soft drinks or beers, looking at the surfers riding the waves, and telling stories while enjoying the sea breeze. Alone at Blue Point? I’ll just sit there and write for hours.

Bali-BluePoint2

Blue Point

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Bali, Bursting in Ubud

I woke up to rain. To the faint smell of pandan leaves and frangipani. The sky was dark gray. The garden were glistening under the downpour. I watched the mist floating silently in the air, astounded by its ghostly appearance. A dark and wet morning in Ubud for a bunch of depressed writers. A perfect gift. When the rain subsided to drizzles, we tip-toed to the breakfast area, to avoid stepping over the offerings (banten).

Breakfast was served in a small hut next to the paddy field. The sound of Balinese gamelan, the hush of the wind, the rhythm of the raindrops, the spores of Actinomycetes. There were three of us at the table, but we did not talk much. I sipped my coffee without hurrying.

Leaving the cottage at around 10, we decided to take our separate ways. The guys went uphill, while I sat on the edge of the bridge, looking down to the mesmerizing beauty of Tjampuhan (Campuhan) river. I could spend hours just looking at the flowing water, orchestrated by the faint sounds of the birds and monkeys from the nearby forest. It was so calming, like a therapy to ignite a sense of melancholy.

Joe Forgas, a social psychologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, has spent the last decade investigating the link between negative moods and creativity. He has repeatedly demonstrated that a little melancholy sharpens the spotlight of attention, allowing us to become more observant and persistent. Forgas has found that states of sadness also correlate with better writing samples; subjects compose sentences that are clearer and more compelling. Because they were more attentive to what they were writing, they produced more refined prose, the words polished by their misery*.

That was probably the exact reason why the three of us decided to hide in Ubud for a few days.

True, it was that time of the year when they held this annual International Ubud Writers & Readers Festival—where writers from all over the world came to this little dot on the map for a series of talks, readings, or workshops. But the festival was merely an added topping. The core ingredient of our #PecahdiUbud (“Bursting in Ubud“) journey was actually the one that Forgas mentioned.

We were looking for a place where we could savor the melancholy of being silently depressed and miserable.

Ubud was just the perfect place to do this. A small village hidden beneath the lush canopy of green, with its forests, rivers, hills, temples, and October rain, far from the beach-side’s sunny celebrations. A bunch of traveling companions who could understand these shared state-of-sadness. Those who wouldn’t mind to sit together in silence—each one got lost in one’s own thoughts: racking our brains, scribbling some notes, typing stories, reading books, or gazing out into the emptiness.

In the afternoon, after a long lunch, we would wander around listlessly—only to find ourselves took our separate ways, again. Adit went to a batik workshop, Ney went to a book discussion, and I decided to sit in a class of 15 people; clutching my Vernon God Little novel while the author, DBC Pierre, was sharing his writing experience right in front of me.

When the sadness and depression overwhelmed us, we left Ubud for Seminyak and walked under the sun until our feet got tired and our skin were burning hot. That day, we waited for the sun to set in Cafe Bali, Oberoi Street. Sat lazily on a huge couch overlooking the tiny pool and the Ganesha statue, we sipped our coffee and devoured six types of desserts to wash away the bitterness.

As night fell, we climbed back up to Ubud: the wind was chilly, the air was damp, the sky was dark. A small sliver of the moon was hanging there, looking lonely. We walked past the darkness of the museum not far from our cottage, the sound of the night enveloped us. It was the museum of Antonio Blanco—a painter of Spanish and American decent who came to the island in 1952 and fell in love with Ni Ronji, a Balinese dancer, and got married to her a year later.

Love stories.

My mind was instantly filled with mythical creatures, kisses and fireworks, invisible inhabitants of the past and the future, the traces of unrequited love, explosion of tears. It was that time of the year. To celebrate sadness and misery, to welcome tears and despair, to get high just by looking at the words pouring from my computer screen. “Bursting in Ubud” was about embracing all these, to wake up again in a different morning one day and walk out with my golden slippers, sunglasses, shirts, and shorts—heading to the beach with a burst of laughter.

__________

*) p. 77, The Unconcealing, a chapter from the book “Imagine” by Jonah Lehrer.

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:: slank, seminyak, laptop HP mungil itu, dan bloggership…

:: SLANK

Memang sedikit aneh, tetapi hanya selang beberapa hari setelah saya mengunggah tulisan ini (mengenai sahabat saya yang berkesempatan untuk nongkrong bareng Kaka dan Bimbim Slank di Columbus, Ohio), saya mendapatkan undangan untuk menonton private concert-nya Slank di rumah Dubes Amerika Serikat, Cameron R. Hume. Kabarnya, konser kecil ini dibuat dalam rangka menyambut kembalinya Slank setelah tur mereka di Amerika sana.

Maka, rombongan kecil para blogger yang terdiri dari saya, Dimas, Chika, Dilla, Adit, Iqbal, Goenrock, Ronggur, Ridu, dan Bena pun bertemu di rumah sang Dubes di Taman Suropati—untuk menikmati Slank membawakan beberapa lagu lawas mereka—dalam Bahasa Inggris. Agak aneh juga mendengar mereka menyanyikan lagu “terlalu manis, untuk dilupakan…” yang diterjemahkan mentah-mentah menjadi “too sweet to forget…” :D

***

:: SEMINYAK

Dua hari setelahnya, pada pukul setengah tiga siang di hari Kamis yang panas membakar, saya tertidur pulas di dalam mobil menuju bandara Soekarno-Hatta.

Penerbangan menuju Denpasar pada pukul lima sore akan membawa saya ke Hotel Santika—tempat di mana saya dan rombongan menginap—untuk memberikan pelatihan komunikasi bagi salah satu organisasi nirlaba di sana pada hari Jumat, di hotel yang sama.

Setelah selesai memberikan pelatihan pada pukul lima sore, saya dan kawan saya bertolak menuju Hotel Mutiara Bali di Seminyak untuk memperpanjang jam ‘kerja’ kami di Bali menjadi hari-hari liburan. Sepanjang perjalanan, saya pun ber-SMS ria dengan Pak Dhe Mbilung, mengatur janji untuk makan malam romantis bersama :D

mutiarabali

mutiara bali, hotel kecil yang menyenangkan, terletak di belakang jajaran restoran sepanjang seminyak trattoria-mykonos-ultimo, letaknya di jalan kecil di belakang ultimo, tersembunyi dari keramaian. tempat yang cocok untuk mengasingkan diri :)

Pak Dhe Mbilung menjemput kami di hotel pada pukul setengah delapan malam, bersama—Dewi! Iya, Dewi, yang dulu punya blog di secret-silence.blogspot.com, yang sudah saya anggap teman sejiwa di blog seperti Atta, yang saya sukai gaya menulisnya, yang saya kunjungi blog-nya secara berkala, hingga akhirnya Dewi menutup blog-nya :(

Akhirnya, di lobby hotel, saya bertemu Dewi juga—yang cantik sekali (!), seperti gadis Bali yang ada di foto-foto National Geographic—walaupun Dewi bukanlah orang Bali :D

mykonos-pakdhedandewi

Pak Dhe Mbilung curi-curi pandang pada Dewi yang secantik bunga mawar di atas meja :D

Bersama Pak Dhe Mbilung dan Dewi, kami mendamparkan diri di MYKONOS, sebuah restoran Yunani tak jauh dari hotel—menyantap roti pita dan shoarma udang, kemudian membiarkan Pak Dhe Mbilung menikmati 2 gelas lemon tea, 3 scoops es krim dan secangkir kopi, serta mempersilakan beliau menghabiskan dessert yang dipesan kawan saya :D

Dari MYKONOS, Pak Dhe Mbilung dan Dewi menurukan saya di Hu’u Bar untuk nongkrong-nongkrong sebentar bersama kawan saya sebelum kembali lagi ke hotel. Ah, Hu’u Bar—yang di bagian belakangnya terdapat meja-meja dan bantal-bantal besar di atas rumput, di bawah langit terbuka, diterangi lampu-lampu kecil yang bersinar seperti kunang-kunang. Banyak sekali rombongan keluarga yang hadir malam itu; juga pasangan yang menikmati makanan ditemani sebotol wine. Ah, Hu’u merupakan tempat yang menyenangkan untuk melangsungkan pesta pernikahan kecil-kecilan ;) *ah, dasar perempuan-perempuan*.

Hari Sabtu siang, saya dan kawan saya yang melewatkan sarapan pagi di hotel, bergegas menuju CAFE BALI untuk makan siang lebih awal. CAFE BALI ini juga masih terletak sejajar dengan MYKONOS, dan bisa dicapai dengan berjalan kaki dari hotel tempat kami menginap. Nasi dan sate ayam serta sate sapi menjadi pilihan, karena perut kami rasanya belum ‘nendang‘ jika belum terisi nasi :D

cb

restoran yang menyenangkan dan enak untuk nongkrong berlama-lama, menyesal tak bawa laptop, karena ternyata di sini semua orang sibuk berwi-fi :D

Di restoran inilah kami menemukan buku berjudul My Life in Bali, yang keren sekali, karena mengupas berbagai pertanyaan mengenai Bali. Misalnya mengenai lambang swastika yang bisa ditemukan di mana-mana, kebiasaan mandi bersama di sungai alias communal bathing, penyembuh spiritual atau balian, juga mengenai persembahan/sesajen yang biasa diletakkan di depan rumah… semua ini dijelaskan dengan bahasa anak-anak yang sangat lugas, jujur, dan… membuat orang-orang asing bisa mengetahui berbagai hal mengenai Bali dan kebiasaan-kebiasaan di Pulau Dewata itu; yang mungkin dirasa agak kurang sopan jika ditanyakan langsung secara terus-terang kepada penduduk setempat.

life

buku ini bagus sekali, dan sebenarnya saya ingin membelinya, tetapi harganya mahal, 350ribu rupiah. harga yang pantas sebenarnya, karena bukunya tebal dan lukisannya bagus. selain dalam bahasa inggris, buku ini juga tersedia dalam bahasa perancis.

Buku indah ini ditulis oleh Sandrine Soimoud, seorang asing yang menetap di Bali. Saya sempat mempertanyakan mengapa harus orang asing yang menulis buku bagus semacam ini :) tetapi kemudian teringat oleh saya, terkadang hal-hal paling sederhana mengenai kebiasaan-kebiasaan kita sehari-hari yang patut dipertanyakan, memang akan lebih jelas terlihat oleh orang asing. Kita yang berada di tengah lingkaran kebiasaan itu sudah terlalu terlibat menjadi bagian di dalamnya, sehingga merasa tak perlu lagi mempertanyakan apa-apa.

Begitukah? :)

Selepas makan siang, sekitar pukul setengah satu, saya dan kawan saya pun berjalan kaki menyusuri Seminyak—melihat-lihat etalase toko yang berjajar rapi sepanjang jalan, dan sesekali berhenti di tempat-tempat yang kami anggap menarik dan menjanjikan, terutama di tempat-tempat bertuliskan SALE 50% :D

seminyak

hitakara, toko yang menjual aneka perhiasan lucu hasil karya desainer bali, dan harganya sangat ramah di kantung. di sebelah kanan adalah jacques ruc, yang dipenuhi tas-tas rotan berwarna-warni dan memiliki display serta sofa yang menyenangkan :)

Tak terasa, ternyata sudah pukul empat sore. Kami sudah berjalan kaki selama sekitar 3.5 jam—dan mulai dehidrasi :D Kembali menuju arah hotel tempat kami menginap, kami pun bersantai sejenak di THE JUNCTION, sebuah kafe kecil tak jauh dari Seminyak Square, memesan lime juice dan pancake pisang cokelat yang ternyata porsinya sangat besar… sebelum kembali ke hotel untuk menyegarkan diri dan tidur-tiduran sebentar.

thejunction

tempat yang ramah, terang, dan berangin, cocok untuk mengistirahatkan kaki sambil membaca-baca majalah. tirai putih bergantungan di the junction akan diganti menjadi tirai merah begitu pukul setengah enam sore untuk memberikan ambience ruangan yang berbeda.

Malam harinya, kami berjalan kaki dari hotel menuju ULTIMO, sebuah restoran Italia—masih di jajaran yang sama dengan MYKONOS dan CAFE BALI. Di sinilah saya merasakan fetucinni terlezat di dunia :D Jika Anda berada di Seminyak, saya sarankan mampir ke ULTIMO! Selain suasananya sangat romantis (kenapa kami berada di tempat-tempat romantis terus, ya?), harga makanannya juga bisa dibilang tak terlalu mahal, apalagi jika dibandingkan dengan Jakarta.

ultimo

wajah senang karena perut kenyang, di bawah penerangan lampu remang-remang dan lilin yang benderang...

Dengan 85ribu rupiah saja, Anda sudah bisa mendapatkan full set menu, yang terdiri dari salad, fetucinni tuna, sirloin steak (Australian) dengan mashed potato, serta fruit bowl dengan sorbet. Dan makanannya memang luar biasa enak… pantas saja restoran ini selalu nampak full dari luar, dan Anda harus sabar menunggu selama beberapa menit untuk mendapatkan tempat duduk.

Pukul setengah sepuluh, kami menuju kawasan pantai Double Six tak jauh dari sana untuk menonton DJ Kyau dan Albert dari Jerman yang akan bermain di Magnifisound di DOUBLE SIX CLUB. Tetapi pukul sepuluh malam ternyata masih terbilang ‘pagi’. Double Six Club masih sepi tak berpenghuni. Maka, kami pun mendamparkan diri di BACIO—sebuah klub kecil tak jauh dari situ, dan satu-satunya klub yang sudah menunjukkan tanda-tanda kehidupan :D

Kami pun duduk di bar, karena meja-meja lain sudah ditempeli tulisan ‘reserved‘—mengobrol sambil nge-plurk dan meng-update status Facebook :D Pemandangan yang aneh, mungkin. Dua orang perempuan sibuk mengutak-atik telepon genggam di bar—dan lebih aneh lagi karena saya memesan secangkir kopi! :)

Di BACIO inilah, kami melihat DJ Ai—yang rupanya memang akan dijadwalkan main di sana. Saya kemudian berpikir, betapa banyaknya DJ-DJ yang terlihat keren ketika berada di tengah kegelapan klub, dengan lampu-lampu yang terang-redup-terang-redup, di belakang kotak kaca yang memagarinya dari pengunjung di lantai dansa—tetapi ketika pagi datang, masihkah mereka nampak sekeren tadi malam? Entahlah :D *tetapi saya setuju bahwa DJ Ai nampak sangat keren malam itu* ;)

Mendekati tengah malam, barulah kami beranjak menuju Double Six Club yang sudah mulai dipenuhi pengunjung. Tetapi kerumunan baru mulai ramai menjelang pukul tiga pagi. Saya dan kawan saya yang awalnya merangsek ke tengah kerumunan untuk bisa lebih dekat melihat Kyau dan Albert, akhirnya menyerah dan menyingkir ke pojok meja bar yang dekat dengan mesin pendingin, karena tak tahan dengan pengapnya asap rokok :D

Oh ya, sebuah catatan spesial dari Seminyak: saya menemukan sebuah toko furniture dan sebuah spa bernama DI SINI. Ah, apakah ini semacam pertanda? Ataukah semesta hanya ingin bermain-main dengan saya? ;)

disini

Di Sini ada di Bali! :)

***

:: LAPTOP HP MUNGIL ITU

Di tengah-tengah perjalanan di Seminyak inilah keinginan saya untuk membeli laptop mungil muncul lagi. Senangnya bisa bepergian membawa-bawa laptop untuk dipakai menulis dan mengetik cerita, tanpa harus terbebani dengan berat dan besarnya laptop yang hendak dibawa.

Beberapa waktu lalu, saya sempat jatuh hati pada ASUS EEE PC yang kecil mungil dan berwarna putih itu, tetapi kawan saya kemudian datang ke kantor membawa HP 2133 Mini Note mungilnya, yang kelihatannya lebih “tidak rapuh” dibandingkan ASUS EEE PC itu. Dan lagi, kemudian saya berpikir, adalah HP yang mensponsori hadiah untuk doorprize Pesta Blogger di saat-saat terakhir. Lantas, apakah ini berarti akan lebih baik kalau saya membeli HP? ;)

hpmininote

uh, dengan dolar yang naik-turun, rasanya harus menunda dulu membeli si mungil ini...

Ada yang berkenan memberikan saran? ASUS EEE PC atau HP 2133 Mini Note? :D

***

:: BLOGGERSHIP

Kemarin, ketika saya kembali ke kantor setelah liburan singkat di Bali itu, saya menemukan sudah ada puluhan aplikasi dari para blogger untuk mengikuti BLOGGERSHIPscholarship untuk blogger yang diselenggarakan Microsoft.

picture-1

Untuk informasi saja, aplikasi akan ditutup tanggal 15 Desember 2008. Jadi untuk yang belum mengirimkan aplikasinya, ayo kirim segera, dan baca keterangan lengkapnya di sini.

Uh, sayang sekali saya tidak boleh ikut mengirimkan aplikasi— padahal terbuka kesempatan untuk jalan-jalan lagi jika bisa menang Bloggership :(

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:: perjalanan yang melepaskan

Bandung adalah perjalanan yang membukakan.


Perjalanan yang dilakukan sendirian, diputuskan secara tiba-tiba. Sedikit impulsif. Sangat berbeda dengan saya yang biasanya. Begitu pula yang dikatakan teman saya, ketika sepulangnya dari Bandung, saya membalas emailnya yang hanya terdiri dari dua kata: “Gimana Bandung?” dengan rentetan cerita panjang.

Senang bahwa pertanyaan dua kata-ku dijawab dengan respon yang ‘sedikit’ lebih dari dua kata. Gak nyangka. Aku bisa merasakan emosimu dan membayangkan ketika kamu menulisnya. Rasanya, aku tidak pernah melihat (tepatnya, membaca)-mu seantusias ini. Kamu itu menarik sekali secara kepribadian. Ada antusiasme dan letupan emosi, celetukan tidak biasa. Tapi lebih sering semua berputar di dalam otak/hati dan semua tercetus dalam bentuk simbol-simbol yang cukup halus.

Asli, waktu baca emailmu itu aku lagi di gym tuh. Walhasil, aku senyum-senyum sendiri (agak-agak terharu sedikit). Setelah itu, perasaanku jadi ikut terangkat. All is going to be ok.

Tapi beneran, aku sebenarnya sudah antusias ketika kamu bilang akan ke Bandung sendirian. Wah, sebuah terobosan. Ini baru pertama kali? Terobosan beneran. Bahkan mungkin lebih dari yang kamu–kita?–sadari.

Tidak banyak orang yang memutuskan untuk pergi sendirian tanpa kenal siapa pun. Itu harus pake rasa pasrah–sikap whatever will be will be. Dan aku yakin seyakin-yakinnya bahwa seorang kamu akan menikmati kesendirian itu. Tidak semua orang bisa, tapi kamu bisa.

Bandung membukakan mata saya akan hal-hal apa saja yang bisa saya lakukan. Hal-hal yang saya cintai. Hal-hal yang saya anggap penting. Lebih penting dibandingkan yang orang lain anggap penting. Apa-apa saja yang menarik dari sudut pandang saya. Kesempatan untuk mencumbui kesendirian pelan-pelan tanpa perlu merasa kesepian. Bukankah itu merupakan suatu kemewahan tersendiri?

Bandung juga membukakan kesempatan bagi saya untuk melihat masa lalu dan masa kini bermain-main dalam bingkai jendela. Dalam perjalanan panjang berlatar gedung-gedung dengan arsitektur art deco itu, saya memotret semuanya. Masa lalu dan masa kini. Juga memberanikan diri untuk mengintip masa depan dari balik jendela.

Bali–Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Jimbaran, hingga Dreamland, adalah perjalanan yang membebaskan.

Selalu demikian. Ketika kau merasa berada di ranah tak dikenal, di mana tak seorang pun peduli apa yang kau katakan, apa yang kau kenakan, dan bagaimana kau berpenampilan. Tempat di mana semua yang kau lakukan bisa mendapatkan permakluman atas nama liburan.

Tempat di mana kau merasa begitu kaya hanya dengan sandal jepit, celana pendek, dan kaos oblong, mengubur kaki di dalam pasir di siang bolong, kemudian memasang iPod dan asyik sendiri mendengarkan MIKA menyanyi, tak peduli keadaan sekitar, memandangi ombak di lautan, orang-orang yang berenang dengan bikini berwarna-warni, dan cakrawala di kejauhan.

Juga mengagumi barisan pemuda-pemuda tampan ala boyband yang berjemur di atas pasir pada pukul 2 siang dengan dada telanjang. Seperti berteriak, “Dipilih, dipilih, masih hangat, masih hangat…”

Ah, memandangi mereka semua itu saja sudah bisa memberikan saya kesenangan selama berjam-jam. Terik matahari pun terasa lebih ramah. Semua indah. Panas dan hujan. Semua indah ketika kita merasa bebas untuk menjadi diri sendiri, apa adanya.

Ubud adalah perjalanan yang melepaskan. Melepaskan semua. Pekerjaan dan rutinitas sehari-hari. Pemikiran tentang menulis. Kawan-kawan di ranah maya. Blogwalking. Semua terhenti di Ubud. Semua tergantikan dengan berjalan kaki selama 2-3 jam sehari, menyusuri jalan-jalan, pasar-pasar, sawah-sawah, dan toko-toko kecil… menumpang ojek melewati jalanan macet ketika kaki sudah nyaris lecet.

Memandangi hutan di kejauhan. Tidur dalam desau angin dan gesek dedaunan, suara-suara alam dan gemericik air. Sungai yang mengalir di bawah. Binatang-binatang yang bermunculan dari segala arah. Udara dingin yang menyembur dari pemandangan sawah-sawah pada senja hari. Mengakrabi semuanya membuatmu menggigil, tapi bukan karena dingin. Dan membuatmu tak lagi merasa perlu untuk mempertanyakan segala sesuatu dengan sepotong ‘mengapa’

Langit Ubud selalu penuh dengan bintang-bintang pada malam hari. Terang dalam pekatnya sekitar. Memberikan secercah rasa yang bukannya ingin saya simpan dan nikmati sendiri seperti biasa, tetapi justru ingin saya bagi. Karena bukankah langit selalu terlalu luas untuk dipandangi sendirian? Kita bisa berbagi sepuas-puasnya, dan langit masih tak akan ada habis-habisnya.

Teman saya itu benar. Ubud is such a magical place. Ubud bisa membuat saya takut, kagum, dan jatuh cinta pada saat yang bersamaan. Dan yang sedemikian itu baru bisa kau rasakan jika kau sudah melepaskan semua. Dan rela untuk lebur dalam rasa apa saja yang menggulung dirimu dalam ketiadaan.

~ sebuah suvenir kecil dari Ubud bisa ditemukan di sini ~

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