Camping at Papandayan

IMG_1584Easter 2014, my friend and I were looking forward to an adventure. We packed our bags and picked up some food at the grocery store. A pair of flip flops would be needed this trip. I grabbed brown a pair of spirit sandals. We hopped on green public transportation and headed to Cicaheum bus terminal. It was quiet and empty at 9ish when we arrived. We chose Garut bus and paid Rp 20,000 each. My hairdresser who is originally from Garut told me it takes 2 hours to get there. That Friday was different. It was the Good Friday holiday weekend and everyone seemed to be heading out on vacation. We waited until the bus was full and ready to go. We could see a long line in the road. We could also see the mountains we would be hiking in the distance.

IMG_1538Papandayan Mountain was our destination. Two hours passed and we were still on the bus with everyone else. We could see green trees and rice fields on the way. Most of the time I slept. Finally we arrived in Garut bus station at noon. I bought rice and fried chicken before we got into small van that was going to take us to Papandayan gate. We met 5 geology students there who were going to the same place as us. It took us another hour and cost us Rp 15,000 each. When we reached to gate, there were many people who offered us ride to go to the trailhead. They said it would take us 2 hours hiking and gave us two alternate choices if that was too long. If we chose pick up truck, it cost Rp 200,00 for all of us. If we chose motorbike, it cost Rp 50,000/each. We chose car. We tried to bargain it down some more but they wouldn’t lower the price.

IMG_1536The road was not really smooth, we were shaking in the truck for the first twenty minutes and then the truck broke down. It just couldn’t move, the driver had no idea what was wrong. He checked the engines, tires, everything. He tried some tricks to make it go but nothing worked. Then he called his friend to come and we waited on the side of the road watching the river and wished that it wasn’t taking us so long to get to our destination. We saw other hikers passing by as we sat there.

Finally the driver’s friend showed up and fixed the truck so and we could get going again. Once at the gate we had to show our ID cards and write how long we would stay on the mountain. They made sure that we would camp in their official campsite. We paid and got ready to hike. People said Papandayan is an easy mountain to hike. It takes 2 hours to get to summit. We saw really beautiful crater and smelled sulfur after we went through forest. The weather was perfect. The geology students were so excited to see rocks and tried to make connection with lessons they had been learning in class.

IMG_1542We met some hikers who took pictures and shared their experiences at the summit. They told about us a short cut to go to the top. The were two routes. The first went to the official campsite and the other had a sign marked “Dangerous.” Other hikers suggested going to dangerous one and we decided that sounded fun. It was steep and we could see small trees 1 meter height around us. We kept walking straight. It was just seven of us who took this path. I was wondered whether we were lost. Apparently we were on the right track. We arrived in Death Forest around 4 and we could see the city. We saw two camps and decided to set up our tents too.

The sun was setting and we were ready to cook dinner. Our geologist friends needed some help setting up their tent. They didn’t bring any hook and string so they took off their shoe laces. It was dark when we were cooking dinner. We started a fire and boiled water for our instants noodles. Out geologist friends shared their rice and food can with us because we helped them build their tent and cooked for them. They told us it was last minute trip for them so they were unprepared.

IMG_1565We went to bed early because wanted to wake up in the morning for sunrise. It was windy that night because we camped on the ground without any trees to protect us. We tried to ignore coldness and closed our eyes to sleep. In the middle of the night, I woke up since I could feel something really bright. I opened my eyes, trying to find out who turned on the light in the room. I forgot I did outdoor camp. I saw moon, it looked so close, so big, so bright and thousands star around it. it was great to wake up to see the clear sky.

We went back to sleep and woke up because people were so noisy in the morning. Oh no, we almost missed sunrise. Sky was so clear that morning, it was so pretty. Orange sky, sun rose slowly and we were on the right spot. Great! Male hikers brought papers saying “i love you, ______ his girlfriend’s name!” it was cute to see how they made it to Papandayan and told the world about it. At least they loved ones.

IMG_1559We had green tea latte while people watched the sun rise. We gathered with the 5 geologist students and hiked to summit. We saw tons of tents in the official campsite, good thinking to camp at Death Forest. Most of trees looked so dry, we hiked to thicker forest for one hour and arrived at Tega Alun. We saw edelwiss, we walked a bit to see a river. Many hikers dipped themselves into it while we were there. There was another place we could see but we decided to go down the mountain instead.

As always going down was harder than climbing up especially since we needed to give space for motor cross riders who were trying to go to the campsites. Unfortunately, there was no rent car to go down or hitch hike. Most other hikers used motorbikes. There was a group of boys who looked so sad. I asked whether they could give us ride. They shared their stories that they lost their money on lending all their camping stuff. We agreed on giving them Rp 50,000 as they asked if they drove us to the main gate. They did.

We had lunch and met another hikers once we arrived there. It was cloudy and started to rain then we took a bus to get to Bandung. It was nice to hike in Papandayan, cant wait to hike another mountain :)


Magnificent Krakatoa


It was the March 2011, term break so I had a long weekend. Megan invited me to go to Krakatoa with Couch Surfer. SURE! It sounded so cool. 5 of us were ready after school with our backpacks. Ari, my friend who was going to Jakarta gave us ride. Yay for free rides, even though his car did not have enough space for 7 of us. Unfortunately one of us had to sit in the back of the car without seat for 3 hours.

Cicendo-20111122-00341We arrived to Jakarta and had a quick dinner. I met Didi and Leo for first time. They helped me to find out how to get to Bandung from Krakatoa. They made me felt safe for the rest of trip. We hopped in Didi’s car. He drove us to Merak port. Traffic was so bad, so many trucks and cars went to the same directions. They wanted to distribute some goods to Sumatra. Merak is the only way to go there by water.

Didi parked his car and we lined up to ferry with our backpacks. It was large group almost 30 people. Hopefully I’ll be remember their names still. We looked for chairs and sat next to Mia, she looked younger than she was. She was good accompany to travel too. People were nice, I thought it might be a great trip ahead :)

cantiThe ferry trip took four hours starting at midnight. We arrived at Bakauheni port, Lampung at 4 a.m and hopped onto public transportation to go to Canti port. It took us 2 hours in the car. It was dark and cold outside but warmer inside cause we shared that car with 13 passengers. When we arrived in Canti, we waited for boat to bring us to Sebesi island where we would stay the night.

While waited for boat, we watched sunrise and ate a breakfast of fried rice. It was around half an hour to get to Sebesi island to drop off our backpacks. We then sailed again to Krakatoa. The magnificent volcano that erupted in the 1800s and caused massive destruction. Now we would see Anak Krakatoa which is still active. We were sharing a boat with 30 people for this journey. Some chose to sit on the top, but my friends and I slept on the lower level. I smelled gasoline and heard engine noises. I felt dizzy every time I woke up but I forced my eyes to stay shut.

Boat was shaking, people were making noise, water came in to the boat. It soaked me and some other passengers as well. I was shocked and I saw high waves tossing the boat. I could not think clearly. I thought this boat was going to sink. I was thinking what should I bring? My phone? My camera? Ah they would be ruined anyway. I looked around to find life jacket. I remembered I had put it somewhere around me. My head was spinning, then I calmed myself down. No worries I could swim. Then I remembered my family at home, I should tell them that I love them. Before I continued with other thought, water splashed me again.

wowThis time I could not hold it anymore. I threw up. It was repeated for 3 or 4 times. San San offered me oil to made me feel better. I did not feel better. There was an American girl who offered me sea sickness pills, I took one. And then…I threw up on Julya! Oops, sorry… I saw Joy was kneelling down and threw up as well. Oh no, what was disaster in the boat. Somehow boatman kept going and stopped his boat when we arrived in Krakatoa. I thought I might stay on the boat instead of climbing the mountain. I thought to myself, I had already spent the whole night getting from Bandung to Krakatoa and I did not take this chance? Shame on me.

So I drank water and tried to walk to beach. It was so peaceful that I could feel my toes on the sand. I thought I might get killed. Joy looked better but she did not want to climb. I walked through the forest with the other survival adventurers. We climbed the steep mountain; it was full of dust and dried trees because it had just erupted several weeks before. We hoped that it would not erupt while we were there. We made it to summit. It was magnificent. We could see the crater, the sea and other volcanos. We walked down and Didi offered us a chance to swim.

under the sea

He gave us snorkels and fins, I put them on and looked at corals and fish. It was relaxing after creepy time in the boat. Time to get back to boat, we prayed this time would be better. It was. We made it safely to Sebesi island. We took turns taking showers before the water ran out. Then we chose our beds. It was hard decision. Some people got spring beds, the rest took sleeping mats. Julya and I let the others pick their bed first. We got the left over, 5 centimeters width single sleeping mat. It looked so dirty and ugly. Never mind just one night.

We walked around the beach and shared coconut water. It was refreshing. I told her I was sorry that I puked on her. She said it was okay. We hung out with our friends while we had dinner. They shared about their experiences on the boat with their own thoughts. Joy thought she would die, she felt like Jonah. She said she supposed to not join this trip.second day

It was not easy to sleep that night. I could feel coldness of floor and mosquitoes kept flying around my ears. I was wishing night time was shorter :) I woke up and had breakfast with group of people who would go snorkeling again this morning. Of course I wanted to join them. There were 10 of us who jumped from the boat and looked at the beauty of under water life. It was fun and lying down on rocks. Some friends tried out their under water camera and coral looked pretty good on it.

lazy rock

We went back and packed our things and got ready for the long ride home. We took big group pictures before we sailed to Canti port, then sat on public transportation hugging our backpacks. We arrived in Bakauheni and had lunch. I tried dragon fruit juice. It was yummy! Then bought banana chips for my family. We took ferry to Merak port and looked for bus to Bandung. They were scheduled to leave at 5 p.m. but the bus was one hour late.

jumpThree hours later, Ari picked us up again near bus terminal. It was 9 p.m. He gave us a ride home. It was an awesome adventure to share. Thanks to all cool people who I met this unforgettable trip. From this trip on, I will never feel sea sick again. I have experienced the worst.

Across Sunda Strait

IMG_5868October 2014, I had term break. Yay for long weekend. Lizzy and I planned to go to Sumatra. We had done some research and decided to go on Wednesday night and then back to Jakarta on Saturday night. She really wanted to see some other islands in Indonesia, but we had limited time and budget so we decided to go to Lampung. I heard from my friend that Pahawang island was a really nice place to snorkel and there was another beach that you could see dolphins. It sounded so cool.

We bought night bus ticket from Gambir train station Jakarta. It cost me Rp 135,000 to go to Lampung bus station. I had no idea where was it or how long it would take to get that island. We did not care, we hopped on the bus. The bus was full of passengers and turned off the lights since it was 10 p.m already. We lined up to go to Merak port and we got in a Japanese ferry. It was fancy and we could see around beautiful lights in the port.

IMG_5875We looked for a place to sleep. There was a big place covered with mat, full of people. We squeezed in the small empty area. We could not sleep, it was too cold and we didn’t have a pillow to lie our heads on. We saw one foreigner hugging his backpack. We were imagining scenarios as to why he was here. I told her he might be tourist like us, he might be going to that island too. We could share boat with him.

IMG_5951I was so excited to come and asked him but he said he was visiting his family here. It sounded weird but he might say it for his security. Then we slept until a man woke us up to pay for staying there and offered us a pillow to rent. We paid Rp 8,000 each. Hours later there was announcement that we should go back to our bus. We were lost in the parking place and we could not find the bus. We were confused because all buses looked the same, they started their engines and the gas fumes made me feel dizzy.

Finally we found our bus after I remembered the number. We sat down and slept again. The bus stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. I had no appetite to eat at that time. I asked lady next to me where the bus station was. She told me and gave direction to go to island. Awesome!

We arrived in Tanjung Karang around 8 am, tired and dirty. We went to a bank to get some cash and cleaned ourselves afterwards. We felt better and hopped on public transportation. The driver told us to get on another public transportation and we should return before 5 p.m. After we were dropped off we got on open truck to get to island. We paid Rp 20,000 for this. We could feel fresh air here, less crowded, less pollution, more trees and mountain to see.


Finally we saw the sea! Yay, we were almost there. We had lunch at Ketapang and talked with the locals about going to Pahawang island. One guy named Hendra offered us a homestay and boat. We bargained with him then walked with us to his house. He owned some water sport stuff and had snorkeling gear for rent. He called his friend and the fast taxi boat took us to a floating fish farm. The taxi boat cost Rp 20,000 and we walked in fish farm. We met an old man who lived there. His name is Ujang, we called him Ua (uncle in Sundanese).

He cooked for us. Too bad we just had our lunch so we only ate a bit of his fried rice. He showed us to our room. It had a window in which we could see an island behind us and small hole to see fish swim below us in the sea. He had two sleeping mats. It was enough for us. He showed us his toilet behind the kitchen and a raft to go to the island. He gave us fish food and let us feed his food too. That was perfect.

We had nap and took the raft to the island when we woke up. It was hard to operate the raft at first but once we got use to, it was quiet easy. It was harder to park it in the mud. We walked through mangroves and saw a neighborhood. There were schools, houses, banana trees, coconut trees and monkey’s near Hansel and Gretel witch house because it looked like candy house. The owner painted pink and yellow. We walked to look for another home stay but we could not find one. It was 5 p.m so we thought we might walk back before dark. We saw an old man riding his bike and carrying a coconut. I wanted coconut. He told us to ask Mr. Holil who owned a coconut tree.

IMG_5993He took his knife and climbed coconut tree. He gave us 5 fresh coconuts. We kept saying thanks then stared at those coconut. He looked at us and offered to open them. We nodded our heads and we started to drink it. It was so fresh and yummy young coconut. We asked how much should we pay, he walked away. Okay then we said goodbye and went back to raft.

It was harder to push it through mud before we pulled string back to our floating home stay. It was sunset and the sky was extremely awesome. We arrived and put one coconut out for Ua. He was not there. After we showered, he came back and looking worried. He was looking for us on that island using his neighbor’s boat and motorcycle but we were not there. He was worried because we were girls in new place, and he thought we might have gotten lost or something.

We were sorry cause he was looking for us. Then we had dinner that he had already cooked for us. He turned on his television that hung on the wooden frame. It was creative of him to put his TV that way. He watched Indian series and shared about his life. When we sipped tea after dinner, Mr. Holil showed up and told him that he met us.

We were planning to rent boat from Hendra tomorrow to see around this place but Ua and Mr Holil offered their help instead. So we told Hendra to cancel our previous reservation. After Mr Holil went home, I offered coconut to Ua. He refused to drink it, he said it was forbidden to drink. Oops we drank it, I hope nothing bad will happened to us.

We slept early and woke up to go to toilet in the middle of night. We lied on raft and looked at millions stars above us. Awesome. I thought to myself it was a better place to stay than a regular home stay on the main island. The raft was shaking a bit, I imagined there was huge animal in the water trying to eat us or something dangerous coming from the dark forest on the island. It was Time for bed.


In the morning, the water was so clear. There was nothing such like sea monster like I had thought last night. Lizzy and I made a birthday video for Megan. She celebrated her birthday on October 3rd. She is a diver, she would like our video. We had small cakes and had tea party (with fancy tea pot and cup-i had no idea why Ua had it in the middle of the sea) and sang happy birthday for her. We showed her around the floating home stay too. We were so thankful to be there, enjoying the sunrise and watching Ua’s fish and squids. We fed them before we ate them for lunch :P

Ua fed us again with fried rice, it was too spicy for Lizzy so she gave it away to fish. I said it was bad idea because they would die, so we went to kitchen and threw left over to small hole and all fish came over and ate it. Same thing…

IMG_5927Lizzy chose to run on the island and I chose to go snorkeling. We both had good time. Ua called us to have early lunch, steamed fish. Yummy! I guess he took one of the fish he had for us. We went to the island and Ua borrowed his friends motorcycle. Mr Holil was ready for us too. He led the way showing the nicest places there. Private property and beaches. I dipped myself in. it was warm water, so nice and relaxing and no one else swam except me. I took some pictures with Ua and Mr Holil, our host. We rode on motorbikes and went to another beautiful beach. It had three layers of gradated blue color, white sand and layered mountain as background. Mr Holil knew best places, Ua was happy too since he never went out from his floating home stay.

Glad to have day trip with them instead of snorkeling with Hendra. Mr Holil showed me home stays. They looked uncomfortable compare with Ua’s place. Yay making good decision and Lizzy agreed on that too. In the end of journey, Mr Holil invited us to go to his place. His wife cooked chicken and steamed rice for us. It was for Idul Adha celebration on Sunday. She made banana chip so thin and crunchy. It was delicious.


We hiked to Mr Holil plantation. He took banana for us and showed us durian trees, duku trees and many more I could not remember all of them. Mr Holil found out that Lizzy and I were different. I love ocean and always dip myself to water. She did not want to get wet but looking forward to see plantation. I was not too excited to go there until I saw beach from his plantation. It was so beautiful. I love this place and people here are so kind.

We went back to Ua’s place and napped. We had dinner together and talked for our last night there. We just found out that we were the first guest to stay with him. He was glad to meet us, and so were we. He looked sad that we would be going home tomorrow morning.IMG_6050

In the morning Ua cooked breakfast for us. He packed souvenir for us, stinky beans. Lizzy and I did not like them but we knew someone who would. He peeled them and put them in the plastic bags as well as cakes and banana and cocoa in one box. He said Mr Holil gave me, I wanted to give you. Okay, now we have something to bring home. We gave Rp 400,000 for 2 nights staying and all meals.

He called Mr Holil to take us to Ketapang after he fried squid for me. He was so sweet and treated us like his own daughters. We met Hendra at his place and returned his snorkeling gear. He drove us to the bus station after we ate dinner in front of city hall and took us to buy banana chips in town. We were so thankful to those men. We waited for our bus. Lizzy almost forgot to bring her charger, luckily there was a guy who reminded her. We slept on the bus, hopped on ferry.

This time it was an Indonesian ferry. There was no place to sleep, just hard chairs. We chose to sleep on the floor. I told myself, “this too would pass.” I slept and I heard announcement to go back to the bus. In the bus we slept again after I wrote thank you letter to Lizzy for the best adventure in Pahawang island. She hopped off in Jakarta while I went to Bandung. The box that Ua gave me was so heavy. I took public transportation and hitch hiked home. There was a nice guy who gave me ride.

I gave all souvenirs to my friends and family, they wondered where did I go. Ua texted me made sure we got home safely. It was nice of him. Bless him and his family :)


Best Deal with Best Friend

IMG00814-20110122-1601Christine, my best friend invited me to go to Malaysia with her and her mom’s friends. She got a really cheap deal on an Air Asia flight. I paid Rp 400,000 for a round trip ticket in January 2011. It would be fantastic trip with my junior high school friend. I hoped her mom and her friends were as cool as Christine.

Her dad picked me up, he looked surprised because I brought just a small backpack while the others brought huge amounts of luggage. We arrived at the Bandung airport at 5. They checked their luggage in baggage but there wasn’t enough space for mine, so I needed to carry my backpack. It was not a good start.

The flight was fine, there was random guy who sat next to me. He said good morning and offered me breakfast. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur International Airport. There was a van waiting for us to drive us to Genting. The driver preferred to be called uncle. He talked all the time, he was good accompany after 3 hours driving we made it to Genting Highland. The rest of people I went with did not have much confidence in their English, so I was the only one who could talk to uncle.

venice wanna beWe saw Batu Cave and there were tons of Indians with their heads shaved. Uncle told me that they were giving scarification to their gods. Hair was priceless and consider your pride, when someone shaved head means highest devotion for gods. Batu cave is Hindustan temple with giant statue in the front. We had lunch in rest area, I had nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk with chicken, egg and some vegetable). It was tasteless.

first world

We arrived in Genting; checked into our hotel; and got ready to go to theme park. I love theme parks and rides. I wore the most comfortable light shirt, short and jacket. We tried spinning rides, roller coaster and other rides that made our hearts beat faster and our adrenaline to warm our bodies.

There was hand wax statue. The seller thought I was interested in it, so he grabbed my hand and dipped in wax. It looks cool, I had double pointer finger! then I realized that I had lost theme park bracelet. Oh no! If they noticed I could not go on any more rides. The longer we spent there, the colder and colder we became. We took a train to see the theme park from above. Then we went to an indoor theme park when it was dark. We took boat to see around as well as a sky train.

Over all, Outdoor theme park was good place but it looked so old.I should have wear something warmer when I went to highland. Glad that I had tom yum soup for dinner. We walked around the mall and I found cute wooden earrings and an owl necklace. It was just the right way to end the day. We were tempted to go to casino but we were so tired so we decided to slept instead.

The next morning, we took cable car to go down hill. One cable car fits 4-5 passengers. It was nice to ride on it and we could IMG00841-20110123-1024see beautiful highland and were amazed how tall their trees are. Uncle was ready in parking lot and drove us to a chocolate factory. Chocolate is my favorite food in the world. They had tons of chocolate: spicy chocolate (anyone dare to try?); durian chocolate; liquor; fruit filling; dark; white; and milk chocolate.

Uncle drove us to Kuala Lumpur hotel and we went to Sungai Wang mall. It was a good destination if you want to shop. They had good stuff with cheap prizes. As women, we went crazy for the sales and bought some shopping bags then showed each other what purchased.

We had dinner at Alor street and met two guys, Christine’s friend’s relatives who worked there. We had good seafood for dinner. They offered me durian but I had a throat ache, it was not wise decision to eat that fruit even though it looked so delicious.

petronasThe day after we went to the Twin Tower by bus. It was hot outside, so we decided to go to a mall for some window shopping. We had almost gotten lost earlier when we took bus so we decided to travel around the city by train. We went to Kuala Lumpur central then went to another mall. I felt bored with this shopping trip because I couldn’t explore anything. The others seemed to enjoy their time however.

We took taxi to go to China town to buy some souvenirs. I tried air mata kucing (Lo Han Kuo) drink. It was nice to hydrate myself. The locals were not too nice to the tourists and they didn’t seem interested in helping us with directions. I tried speaking in Malay but I could not understand their responses. I tried English they could not understand me. It was a bit frustrating. Glad it was our last day there.

The next morning we went to mall again before heading to the airport to fly to Bandung. Kuala Lumpur itself was okay. It had with tons of malls and a good transportation system. All the malls had nice Chinese New Year decorations. I was happy with that and bought my grandma special cake for that special day and several red envelopes were given to us in our shopping bags.

IMG00828-20110122-1914In airport, right before we checked in my friend forgot to put 2 liters of liquid soap in her luggage. It was a bummer for me, those soaps were for my mom. My friend used my baggage again so I could not check my backpack. I looked around, asking for help. I saw one familiar man. I met him couple years ago, he lived in Bandung. I bet he was on the same flight as us. Thank God. He wanted to help me. He put the soap in his luggage and gave it to me once we arrived in Bandung.


Easter in Paradise

IMG01133-20110422-1501Easter 2011, my friends and I planned to go to Karimun jawa island. We heard it was best place to go as beautiful as Bunaken in Manado. It worth to try than fly to other island. We booked bus ticket and gathered at 6 pm in front of Istana Plaza mall. We hopped on Nusantara bus to Jepara. It took us all night long to get there. It was boring, cold, and we were squeezed into uncomfortable seats. Glad that we had midnight supper and were given the chance to stretch our legs. We woke up at 6 when we arrived in Semarang.

We planned to meet two friends of our at Jepara port. It took us 2 hours to get there. We had a quick breakfast, hot soto (soup) in Semarang before we bought ferry ticket to Karimun Jawa. It cost us Rp 28,500 each for a 6 hour trip across the IMG00188-20110423-0812strait. We chose the upper deck to see the sea. We saw flying fish and tried many different activities as we could to during the 6 hours in the boat. We played cards, ate snacks, told riddles, and napped but still ran out of things to do before we arrived.

Finally we saw the island! We went out from port and Mr Hakim, our host. He walked with us to his house. His wife already coconut and syrup ready to eat/drink when we got there which was so good. We took showers and changed then hung out at the beach for sunset. Sunset was amazing, we had perfect timing and angles for our pictures. I love this place, I did not want to go back to that ferry again.

We had yummy dinner, yellow tail fish ball. They sold fresh grilled fish too, oh I wanted to eat all fish in the sea :) we went bed early. It was hot and we only had a fan. I was sweaty all night and had to fight with mosquitoes because I forgot to bring mosquitoes repellent lotion.


We woke up early in the morning, got ready to sail with Mr Hakim. He brought us to fabulous snorkeling spots on a boat. We snorkeled all day long. I love to do this. I saw thousand colorful fish, coral, anemone. God is so great creating all sea creatures. We went to an island and had lunch. Our host/boatman cooked parrot fish for us. It was just a perfect picnic for us. We went to Tanjung Gelam for sunset.IMG00299-20110424-1637

It was awesome day, no wonder people keep coming here. I hope they can take care of their natural resources as the number of tourist coming over increases. Our host shared stories about this island, he warned us to not visit this place in monsoon season. There were 6 students from Bandung trapped in island because no boats were able to sail there for a week. One of their moms had to come to pick them up using flight. Yeah flight, why didn’t they have one all the time? It would be an easier option to get here than a 6 hour ferry. He said that they had 3 hours fast boat from Semarang. It sounded better to my ears.

The next day, we went to floating guest house. It looked so nice and they had their own pool for shark conservation. We had chance to swim with them. It was nervous in the beginning since we knew that sharks can be dangerous to humans. They looked scary too. We visited the sea turtle conservation area and were able to touch it. They were so heavy when I tried to lift one up. We saw many starfish and were able to observe them face to face. We made sure to put them back before they dried and died.


In the afternoon, Mr Hakim took us to other island where we could find something to eat. I was too tired so I stayed on the boat and talked with some locals. My friends took some shells, so did Mr Hakim. He got the biggest one. We went to beach and grilled it and tasted so delicious. Good to have him around. Too bad it was 4 pm and we had to go back to our host. I looked around peaceful sea and saw fisherman boat and seaweed plantation. Sunset was great to end this day.

IMG00216-20110423-1349Our last night we went around to buy some souvenir. They had few stores but they had good quality. I liked the Karimun Jawa t-shirt design (white and black). It shows all sea creatures in Karimun Jawa in the front and campaign tagline on the back saying ‘Touch Nothing, Human Touch Can Cause Damage on Corals’. The sky was clear, thousands of stars were above us, what a nice place to stay.

In the morning, I woke up early to see the sunrise. My friend and I walked for almost an hour to get there, while other tourist used motorcycle. Yeah morning exercise. For sure we missed sunrise, but we were on the right side. Nirwana beach, private white sand beach belongs to resort. I love to feel sand between my toes and saw horizon in sea then walked back.


We packed our things and had breakfast prepared by Mrs Hakim. Mr Hakim gave us big shell that we ate couple days ago as our souvenirs. He caught clown fish too, Nemo and his dad for us to see clearer. I hope he put them back that in the ocean.


We waved goodbye when we got in to the ferry. My friend said that it would be better for us to stay in the lower deck because we would have more space. She was right, we were lying down next to coconuts and trucks. This time the 6 hours felt shorter. We took a small bus to Semarang and had shower in our friend’s house. They took us to a souvenir place before bus terminal. We hopped on the bus that took us to Bandung, our home town. My heart felt so glad we made this trip together.


A Day in Jungleland

IMG_57782 October 2014, My principal invited me to go Jungle Land, a brand new theme park in Bogor. My answer was an enthusiastic yes. It was a farewell day trip for someone and there would be several other educators in attendance.

I took public transportation at 6 to Istiqamah mosque. I was so excited to try all of the rides. I looked around they were old and few young teaches. Never mind, I would find someone to play with. We were on the bus for almost 3 hours, they kept feeding me cake, candy, nuts, chips and all things that you can chew, that’s what happens if you go with older women. Snacking all the time and lots of talking.


We were supposed to wear red clothes, I could not find one so I wore this jacket. It was a good thing I did because it was really hot in Jungle Land. They had nice jungle decorations at the entrance. I hoped they had really good rides too.

First of all, we went to hall to do farewell party for one of the senior teachers. They exchanged gifts, but I did not bring anything. Oops. No one told me to bring a present. Glad that they did not mind about that.

IMG_5783We went to dinosaur world. They were variety of dinosaur models, insects, and butterflies. It was a cool place especially when they had live science experiments. They had an explosion from tooth paste and detergent. They invited us to come forward to walk on eggs. Rita and I were so excited to try it out. Scientists prepared eggs and asked us to walk on it. I was the first one to try. I was a bit nervous what if I broke all eggs they had. They asked me to hold my breath and walked slowly. Beyond imagination, I did not break them. So did Rita. Scientist told us the secret. You’ll have to visit if you want to find out.

We walked again and tried the Ferris wheel. They said it was biggest Ferris wheel in Indonesia. We felt hungry when we were in the ride. One of the principals gave us french fries she had brought from home. I could see all of Jungle Land and hear people screaming in other ride. Too bad we could not ride anything else since we were in a group.IMG_5815

We walked around and took pictures here and there. Then we saw a pirate ship that we could ride. Yay! They had water guns on the ship. The idea was to attack one ship with another. Old teachers did not want to be wet, so we were the only ship attacked with water. We were wet but happy. We walked out and got ice cream while waiting for the bus.

We had lunch on the bus and headed to Tajur, a shopping place in Bogor. The tour guide told us about Padjajaran kingdom who had defeated another kingdom and made the Sundanese proud. That is the reason why Sundanese do not want to be call Javanese even though they live in West Java. They prefer to say we live in Sunda. A long time ago, it was Padjajaran kingdom, while central Java was Mataram kingdom.

IMG_5780When teachers came to Tajur, they were so excited to buy bags. Some bought small bags for their grandchildren, bags for themselves and one of them bought luggage! I sat in the front of the place and looked for information about going to Jakarta. I really wanted to try train but no one I talked to thought it was a good idea. They told me to find bus to Jakarta. Buses are boring; trains are more fun.

They went to Venus bakery to buy small loves of bread. I said goodbye and continued my own journey to Jakarta. Everyone looked worry when I put my backpack on, they kept saying that I should be careful. I told them I would and hopped onto a public transportation bus. During the ride I remembered my first solo trip to Bogor. Ah sweet memories, I could make that trip by myself. I could do this one too. The driver dropped me off at the train station. I bought a ticket to Jakarta and chose a destination to meet my friend, Lizzy, at. I went to female train and read my book. Train started to go and I felt asleep. It took me around 1.5 hour to go to Jakarta. I walked and hopped on another bus from the train station in Jakarta. I had dinner while waiting there for my friend.


We met after I finished my dinner and walked to Monas, a Jakarta landmark. It was quiet and nice at night. The weather was perfect too. We laid down on the ground observed the polluted capital sky and talked about life. We bought ice cream from a man who came by. It was great place to have ice cream. Yummy. I sent a text to my principal that I had arrived safely in Jakarta. There was nothing to worry about. Keep asking and you will find the way :)


Farewell and Birthday

IMG_1103End of June 2012, Megan, my friend would be leaving this country so we planned a farewell trip for her. She wanted to go to Batu Karas so we booked tickets to go there. On the 28th of June 2012 at 5 p.m six of us gathered in the McDonald at Setiabudhi. A 4848 van came and picked us up. In the beginning it was just us so we could sit wherever we wanted. Twenty minutes later, we picked up someone else who was carrying 300 ceramic plates for party. We were shocked how those plates could survive without any boxes.IMG_1131

Time went by and we were still in Bandung. For 2 hours we continued to pick up other passengers and their stuff. The last person was carrying cloth materials. The Van was full of people and stuff by the time we finally left Bandung. The driver smoked along the way and one of my friends started to cough. One by one passengers were dropped off and at midnight we owned that van again.

It was 2 a.m by the time we arrived in Batu Karas after almost 1 hour off road driving. The driver dropped us at the hostel. We were glad that hostel owner was still awake and let us in. Four hours later, my friend told us that she might go back to Bandung because she felt sick. We felt bad for her and let her go. We waved goodbye to her and walked to beach where we found some jelly fish on the sand. We hung out there and had lunch while watching people do water sports such as banana boat, flying fish, and surfing. Some families sat on a mat and started their picnic. Megan chose to read her book while the others walked around and looked for souvenirs to bring home.

IMG-20120630-03189We walked to the hill and found a hidden beach and rocks. We saw small creatures inside the rock and that there was cave near there. We watched a wave tossed to the tallest rock. Then we walked back to have dinner and enjoyed stars twinkling for us. Our friend called to let us know they had already arrived in Bandung and went to doctor. Too bad they could not stay with us here. We met the hostel owners and asked them whether we could rent motorbike for tomorrow. They said we could, we paid Rp 50,000/motorbike. I chose Jamaican motorbike that matched with my rasta hair.

Next morning, June 30th was my birthday ;) I woke up and ran to the beach for the sunrise. My friend ran after me and wrote “birthday” on the sand. We went back and got ready to go to Green Canyon by wearing all the green clothes we had. We drove around one hour and stopped at a bamboo bridge for a while. Then we drove again to Green Canyon, it was full of tourist. While we lined up there were some men who tried to sell us more expensive tickets with their own boat. We were not interested in it so we stayed in our line.IMG_1169

We made it to the front of the line  on the boat. We were amazed with the place. It was amazing how tall the rocks were, all the plants and the slow stream. We stopped at waterfall, you could take a dip there, climb and jump, go swimming, or do body rafting. I really wanted to try but we ran out of time. We could not stay any longer. We needed to go back to Batu Karas before dark. We ate in seafood restaurant, a friend told us it might be her last seafood meal since she would marry an Adventist who does not eat seafood. We went back to hostel and played games until we felt asleep.IMG_1186

We found a transportation to take us to Bandung but they charged us a lot more than we spent to get here. Megan needed to go back to catch her flight, so we packed our things and left that place after breakfast. We had nice breakfast in the nicest place. We wondered why we did not find it on the first day. They served pancake and milkshake.

This trip was relaxing one. We laid on the beach under the sun; ate rujak (fresh fruit with peanut sauce); took bunch of pictures’ and took nap in hammock. Batu Karas was nice place because they have less visitors compared to Pangandaran beach. I heard that you could learn to surf in this place too but beware of jelly fish sting.IMG-20120629-03117

My First Solo Trip

It was 5 April 2010, I knew that I would have term break that weekend. I had three days off. I made quick decision to have my own adventure, alone. It was going to be my first solo trip. I was thinking, “Where should I go?” I wanted to go somewhere near Bandung. I did not want to go Jakarta, too crowded. Then Bogor was the popped into my mind. I have a friend who lives there. Great! I called her and she was agreed on hosting me. I booked travel from Bandung to Bogor by Cipaganti travel.

Photo0686My mom dropped me off in Cipaganti Travel Bandung Trade Center on 7 April 2010. I brought small black bag and some sweet treat for Elsa. She would love it. I sat on the bus for around 3 hours before I arrived in Bogor Trade Mall. I waited for Elsa and watched sunset from balcony where I had my dinner. It was so peaceful to see the mountains in front of me. It would be awesome adventure for 2 days ahead.

Elsa picked me up and we went to her house. We watched Hatchiko that night and ate ngo-hiang, fried pork sausages with sauce. It was good. The movie was so touching especially when Hatchiko was waiting for professor on the train station. We thought about adopting a dog.

Next morning, Elsa prepared lunch box for me and a small note on how to get around. I walked and took green public transportation number 02 and went to Bogor Botanical Garden. It cost me Rp 11,000 for access all parks. I was amazed with variety of plants there. Giant trees with long and strong roots, I tried to swing myself like Tarzan. Cactus my favorite plant in Texas garden, orchid garden and many more.Photo0744

I went to zoology museum and paid Rp 1,500 I saw shark skeleton and plenty of animals. I was stunned by tiger, because I born in the year of tiger (Chinese calendar). A man came by and started conversation with me. He was taxidermist, the person in charge of all displayed animals to make sure they still look good. That day planned to buy some dye for tiger. He offered me ride to some other museums.

Our first stop was beauty salon to get his thing then to a military museum. It was too bad because they did not let me in, they only opened for groups with a minimum of 25 people. I took picture with my favorite General who planned guerrilla war toward Dutch imperialism even though he had tbc. His name is Soedirman.Photo0756

We went for lunch, I tried toge goreng, steamed rice covered with banana leaf and cut into small pieces, fried tofu, bean sprout with peanut sauce. It cost Rp 10,000. We headed to war museum. We were the only visitors there. The museum looked old, dusty, creepy and haunted. I felt nervous when I walked in there. I saw all diorama, bullets, blood on army uniforms, guns and some old text.

It started raining and we stayed and talked with curator. He told me the war story in Bogor, some street and its history. There was a man statue stood in front of us. He told us that he was the youngest fighter in Bogor. He was 16 years old when he joined army. He got killed by the Dutch.

When the rain stopped, I hopped on public transportation and met Elsa in her workplace. We went to Botani mall and met her friend. We had dinner and she drove us home. I shared to her how I spent my day and she told me that it was dangerous to hitch hike and talk with stranger. I promised her that I would try to not do that again, at least in Bogor.

Photo0767My last day in Bogor, I went to go to see deer in Presidential Palace. Then I went to Venus bakery to grab some tiny breads for my family at home. I walked on famous street in Bogor where I could find MP, baked macaroni and other local gastronomy. There were lots of factory outlets and in the end of the road, there was small botani park to educate kids about plants. It was organized by Institute Farming Technology Bogor. They had another booth in mall that I visited last night, I bought some herbal soaps for my coworkers.

I had to wait for the bus to take me home, so I wandered around in Bogor Trade Mall. It was bad idea to stay in mall. Everything looked good on me so I ended having two bags at the end of trip.

Anyway it was good first solo trip. It was not difficult to get around and I made new friends that took me places. I learned a bit about history and brought tons of souvenir home. Wonder where would I go after this.Photo0811

Lombok Island as Another Paradise

Penyebrangan 4 jam di kapal feri dari Pelabuhan Padangbay, Bali mendaratkanku ke Pelabuhan Lembar, Lombok. Feri yang kami pakai, merupakan feri terbaik yang pernah saya tumpangi. Fasilitas pendingin ruangan dan kamar mandi yang bersih serta bangku yang empuk cukup membuat saya nyaman selama menyebrangi selat Lombok. Setibanya di sana, aku menginap di rumah teman di Mataram. Ujan mengguyur Mataram membuat udara semakin segar. Rasa lapar sehabis perjalanan jauh, membuatku berjalan sekeliling jalan Kartini. Tanpa peta dan panduan yang jelas, aku dan kawanku berjalan menuju kantor gubernur dan bertanya pada polisi setempat.

Restoran 2 Em disarankan sebagai tempat makan ayam taliwang. Ayam kampung yang berasal dari Taliwang ini digemari seluruh masyarakat Lombok. Konon hampir 1500 ekor ayam dipotong setiap harinya. Hidangan ayam taliwang disajikan dengan beberuk (sambal terong) dan kangkung pelecing.

Keesokan harinya kami pergi ke Tanjung An, sebuah lokasi pantai yang sangat menawan. Airnya jernih, lautnya tenang, pemandangan yang menakjubkan memanjakan mata. Tak jauh dari sana, Pantai Kuta menanti kami. Pantai terlihat sepi oleh turis, walaupun air laut terlihat sangat cantik dari 3 warna degradasi biru. Sebaliknya banyak pedagang oleh-oleh dari kaos, gelang, kain tenun, makanan memadati pantai.


Keadaan yang tidak terurus dengan banyaknya pedagang asongan yang memaksa kami membeli barang dagangannya membuat kami tidak nyaman. Selesai makan siang, kami pergi ke Narmada, tempat bersejarah bekas kerajaan Mataram yang sekarang dijadikan tempat wisata kolam renang. Narmada ini juga dijadikan nama merk dagang air mineral di kawasan Lombok, konon di sini juga terdapat mata air.

Dari Narmada, kami pergi ke Pura Suranadi, pura Hindu yang terletak di sebelah taman nasional yang dipenuhi monyet bergelantungan. Di sini terdapat penjual sate bulayak yang terkenal. Kuliner ini hampir sama dengan sate lainnya tapi disajikan dengan lontong yang dibungkus daun nira yang disebut bulayak. Harga yang dipatok Rp 15.000,00 membuat sore kami lebih bertenaga.

Kami melintasi Senggigi, kawasan pantai terkenal di Lombok. Pantainya tenang membuat pengunjung dapat bermain canoe. Peminjaman canoe diberi tarif Rp 10.000,00 (dengan catatan harus menawar) durasi waktu seharian. Mengemudikan canoe sangatlah mudah, Anda duduk di tempat yang disediakan dan meluruskan kaki, sebagai penyeimbang. Dayung ke kiri mengarahkan canoe ke kanan, demikian sebaliknya. Bila ingin lurus, dayunglah kiri kanan.

Kegiatan canoeing ini sangat cocok sambil menunggu sunset. Pedagang jagung bakar dan kelapa muda berjajar menunggu pengunjung membeli dagangannya. Di Senggigi terdapat banyak cafe dan fasilitas toilet, sehingga tidak perlu khawatir kelaparan.

Untuk mengetahui kehidupan perkotaan Mataram, kami menyempatkan diri ke Mataram Mall. Tempat perbelanjaan ini tidak begitu ramai dikunjungi. Teater mini tempat menonton film pun sudah tutup sebulan yang lalu. Sepertinya hiburan masyarakat ini hanyalah pantai.

Keesokan harinya, kami pergi ke Sekotong, daerah pelabuhan dekat Lembar. Dari sini kami menyewa kapal untuk pergi ke Gili (pulau kecil-bahasa Sasak) Nanggu. Penyewaan kapal dikelola oleh koperasi daerah setempat. Tentu saja penawaran dimulai dengan harga yang sangat tinggi yaitu Rp 400.000,00/ kapal yang berisi maksimal 6 orang.

Kami yang hanya berdua, mencoba mendapatkan harga yang paling masuk akal. Butuh sepuluh menit untuk menawar harga, kami Imagemembayar Rp 200.000,00 tanpa asuransi; karna kami pikir asuransi hanyalah ‘formalitas’ untuk mendapat uang lebih dari wisatawan.

Ada dua orang wisatawan yang datang setelah kami, mereka dilarang untuk sharing kapal bersama kami oleh ‘preman’ lokal. Wajarlah tanpa sistem administrasi yang jelas, mereka dapat memberlakukan harga dan aturan semau mereka.

Di kapal saya mendapat pelatihan mengemudikan kapal motor. Belokan ke arah kiri bila Anda ingin mengarahkan kapal ke arah kanan, juga sebaliknya. Bila ingin lurus, Anda harus memastikan kemudi ada dalam keadaan lurus juga.

Dibutuhkan hanya 30 menit untuk menyebrang dari Sekotong ke Gili Nanggu. Masuk ke gili yang luar biasa cantik ini, kami diharuskan untuk membayar uang retribusi sebesar Rp 5.000,00/orang. Pulau ini juga menyediakan fasilitas hotel seharga Rp 250.000,00/kamar. Kegiatan yang diminati di pulau ini adalah snorkeling dan memberi makan ikan dengan roti yang dimasukkan ke botol air mineral bekas, dijual seharga Rp 5.000,00. Belakangan aku tahu, bahwa ikan bisa mengidap kanker bila memakan makanan manusia, jadi aku memilih untuk melihat ikan berenang saja.

Fasilitas pulau ini sangat terbatas, restoran pun hanya ada satu. Mereka tidak memiliki banyak pilihan makanan karena alasan belum pergi ke pasar. Kami pun hanya memilih makanan yang disarankan oleh pramusaji karna hanya dia yang tahu persediaan bahan makanan di dapurnya.

Gili Nanggu yang berpasir empuk ini semakin ramai pengunjung setelah jam makan siang. Kami beranjak dari pulau yang indah ini ke Pulau Kedis. Pulau kosong yang namanya berarti burung dalam bahasa Sasak. Pulau ini dulu merupakan tempat burung-burung singgah, tapi sekarang tidak lagi. Snorkeling di tempat ini lebih memanjakan mata. Sayangnya beberapa wisatawan meninggalkan sampah mereka di pulau ini.

Gili Sudak merupakan destinasi hoping islands kami hari itu. Harga makanan yang ditawarkan lebih murah daripada di Gili Nanggu. Mereka juga menawarkan air tawar untuk dipakai bilas setelah mandi di laut. Air tawar dengan ember kecil diberi harga Rp 2.000,00 sedangkan yang besar diberi harga Rp 3.000,00. Lebih baik mandi dengan air tawar di sini, karna airnya sudah hangat disinari matahari sejak pagi hari.

Ada satu gili lagi yang berada di kawasan ini, bernama Gili Tangkong, karna saat itu jam sudah menunjukkan pukul 5 sore, kami pun kembali ke Sekotong. Menurut warga sekitar, Gili Tangkong hanya ditinggali oleh 2 kepala keluarga saja.

Sesampainya di darat, beberapa pemuda desa sedang bermain bola. Rupanya euforia Euro 2012 sampai ke Sekotong. Tentu saja aku tidak melewatkan bermain bola dengan mereka. Makan malam kali ini, kami mencicip masakan hasil laut yang ada di Pondok Selera. Walaupun tempatnya di pinggir jalan dan murah harganya, rasa sup Tom Yamnya hampir sama dengan sup asli Bangkok di negara asalnya.

Hari ketiga di Lombok, kami pergi melihat Museum Nusa Tenggara Barat yang ada di Mataram. Berbekal Rp 2.000,00 kami dapat menambah pengetahuan tentang sejarah dan hidup keseharian masyarakat yang didominasi oleh suku Sasak ini. Perjalanan lama kami tempuh menuju lembah kaki gunung Rinjani. Kali ini kami melewati Pusu, kawasan yang dipenuhi oleh hutan dan monyet yang dapat kami beri makan di pinggir jalan.

Hampir tengah hari barulah kami sampai di Senaru. Kami memarkirkan kendaraan di depan kantor tur wisata. Di tempat itu, mereka menawarkan paket menuju air terjun Sendang Gile sebesar Rp 100.000,00 per 2 orang. Kami harus menambah Rp 100.000,00 lagi untuk menuju air terjun kedua, Tiu Kelep.

ImageSelesai makan siang, kami check in di Pondok Senaru. Penginapan bertarif Rp 250.000-Rp 600.000,00/malam yang menawarkan pemandangan air terjun Sendang Gile dan Pelabuhan Carik. Loket pembelian tiket air terjun hanya berjarak 2 menit berjalan kaki dari lobby pondok ini. Harga tiket masuk air terjun Rp 5.000,00 tentu saja ada lokal guide yang menawarkan jasanya untuk mengantar kami ke air terjun. Dia mematok harga Rp 60.000,00, harga pas, karna sesuai standard. Tapi bukan standardku, jadi kuputuskan untuk tetap berjalan menyusuri anak tangga semen yang telah dibuat oleh pemerintah daerah.

Perjalanan menuruni anak tangga selama 15 menit menyampaikan kami ke Sendang Gile, yang biasa disebut air terjun pertama. Banyak anak sekolah yang sedang berakhir pekan di sini, mandi di air terjun menggunakan seragam sekolah. Kegembiraan terpancar dari wajah mereka karena hari itu hari kelulusan mereka.

Seorang anak SMA menghampiriku. Langsung kubertanya apakah dia tahu jalan ke air terjun kedua, yaitu Tiu Kelep. Air terjun ini berada tidak jauh dari lokasi air terjun yang pertama, tapi jalan menuju kesana tidaklah semudah yang pertama. Hutan dan sungai harus dilewati sehingga kumemerlukan bantuan guide.

Anak ini langsung mengangguk dan bergegas pamit pada teman-temannya. Bakrie namanya, anak kelas 3 SMA yang suka lintas alam ini mengenal hutan seperti halaman belakang rumahnya sendiri. Dengan cekatan dia berjalan melalui rintangan-rintangan di hutan. Lalu kita tiba di sungai penuh dengan batu, langsung terlintas pengalaman ‘river trekking’ pertamaku. Temanku mundur saat melihat air sungai.

Aku dan Bakrie melanjutkan perjalanan hingga 30 menit ke depan. Akhirnya air terjun yang kami tuju terlihat juga. Sebaiknya datang ke sini di musim kemarau, sehingga tanahnya tidak licin. Perjalanan pulang bisa ditempuh melalui gorong-gorong atau berjalan mengulang jalan pertama. Jumlah anak tangga yang cukup banyak membuatku memilih gorong-gorong sebagai jalan keluar. Gorong-gorong yang dulu dipakai sebagai persembunyian dari penjajah Jepang ini dialiri air deras setinggi pinggang.

Lorong yang gelap membuatku harus tetap memegang setiap senti dari tembok di kiri kanan lorong itu. Terkadang turunan mengagetkanku karna tiba-tiba sepatuku terperosok ke bawah. Setiap beberapa meter, ada lubang cahaya yang membuat semangat kembali muncul. Akhirnya perjalanan lorong gelap berakhir di sebuah tangga sebelum pintu air.

Setelah mengucapkan terima kasih, aku berjalan melalui hutan yang dipenuhi monyet yang langsung kabur melihat manusia. Temanku yang kelelahan mampir di salah satu warung di ujung jalan. Bu Marwah, namanya. Dia mengenal setiap anak muda yang berhutang rokok padanya.

Melihat penampilan kami yang bukan berasal dari Lombok, salah satu pemuda desa bernama Dika menawarkan kami tiket pertunjukkan. Dia adalah seorang petarung peserean (tarung tradisional menggunakan tameng dan senjata dari kayu) yang akan bertarung malam ini. Para peserean muda ini akan bertarung mencari siapa yang terkuat dari antara mereka. Acara kemudian dilanjutkan dengan tari tradisional. Tiket ini dijual ratusan ribu dan tempat yang kami tidak tahu alamatnya. Dia berjanji mengantar kami dengan motor juga kawannya yang berprofesi sebagai tukang ojek.

Menyangsikan kebenaran acara itu, kami pun memutuskan untuk tidak ikut bersamanya. Dika meninggalkan warung dan giliran Bu Marwah serta beberapa pemuda desa lain menceritakan kisah hidupnya. Lucu melihat salah satu pemuda desa yang berusaha mencari rupiah dengan menawarkan jasa transportasi kepada wisatawan asing dengan bahasa inggris seadanya. Dia hanya memberanikan diri berkata-kata walau dia sendiri tidak tahu apakah bahasa inggrisnya benar/tidak. Pemuda yang biasa dipanggil Injuk ini mengaku mempunyai pacar orang Sunda yang suka nongkrong di Pantai Senggigi. Dia juga tidak lupa memamerkan kemampuan bahasa Sundanya kepada kami. Kami tertawa lepas saat dia mengucapkan “Abdi mah goreng patut” (saya tidak tampan-Sunda).

Sementara temanku memilih untuk berdiam di kamar pondok yang dihias seperti kamar putri raja dengan ranjang tinggi dan kelambu, aku memilih berjalan-jalan sekitar Senaru. Ditemani seorang lokal, aku menemukan sebuah mesjid kuno yang tidak berbentuk seperti mesjid tapi lebih seperti rumah tradisional beratapkan alang-alang. Di lokasi ini juga terdapat dua makam penghulu pertama mesjid ini.

Anak kecil yang menjadi ‘tour guide’ kami menawarkan kunjungan ke desa sebelah tapi kami harus mengenakan busana tradisional yang disewakan di sebrang jalan. Toko sebrang jalan ternyata hanya menjual kain tradisional, pemilik toko pun sedang keluar melayat tetangga yang meninggal. Jadi kami mengurungkan niat kami dan melanjutkan perjalanan ke Pelabuhan Carik.

Dari pelabuhan ini, kami dapat melihat pemandangan Gunung Rinjani yang sangat cantik. Sayang kami tidak dapat menikmatinya dengan jagung bakar/kelapa muda karena tidak ada yang berjualan makanan di sekitar sana. Kami pun meneruskan misi mencari makan malam ke Tanjung. Di sini terkenal sate tanjung, sate ikan yang sudah diblender dengan rempah-rempah sehingga tidak menggunakan bumbu saat disajikan.

Matahari hampir meninggalkan singgasananya, saat kami bertemu dengan ibu penjual sate tanjung. Sate yang dijual seharga Rp 1.000,00 per tusuk ini, ternyata sangat lezat. Tak heran orang Mataram pun mencarinya sampai ke sini. Ibu yang berjualan dari siang hingga magrib ini juga menawarkan pepes ikan berisi sisa bahan sate yang juga membuat saya tidak dapat menolak tawarannya untuk mencicip pepes seharga Rp 1.250,00 ini. Pepes lebih gurih tapi lebih banyak tulang karna daging ikan sudah habis dipakai untuk membuat sate tanjung.

Bermalam di Senaru mengingatkanku akan Bandung, tempat dimana ku tinggal, karna udaranya yang dingin. Berasa di kampung halaman, aku pun tertidur pulas hingga jam 5 subuh. Aku bergegas ke taman berundak yang dipasang berugak (saung) untuk melihat sang surya.

Menyaksikan kedatangan matahari untuk menandai awal hari sangat menakjubkan bagiku. Langit yang gelap perlahan-lahan berubah menjadi sangat terang. Gradasi perubahan warna dari balik bukit sungguh mempesona tidak dapat ditulis dengan kata-kata. Seorang wisatawan asal Belanda, menemaniku sepanjang pagi hingga matahari menyilaukan mata kami dan petugas hotel menanyakan menu sarapan kami.

Berbagai topik keseharian kami bandingkan antara kehidupan Indonesia dengan Belanda. Dia takjub akan kesemerawutan administrasi dan hukum di negara republik ini, tapi di sisi lain dia sangat mengagumi keindahan alamnya. Dia bercerita di negaranya yang sangat tertib dan punya standard hidup yang tinggi serta jaminan kesehatan serta hari tua dari pemerintah membuat dia betah tinggal di sana. Dia mempromosikan gaya hidup sehat untuk dapat tetap travelling di hari tua. Percakapan yang menyenangkan itu ditutup dengan pancake dan secangkir teh dan kopi.

Aku dan temanku meninggalkan Senaru dan menuju Bangsal, pelabuhan menuju Gili Trawangan, Meno dan Air. Kami harus tiba di Bangsal pukul 10 sehingga kami dapat menggunakan kapal publik bertarif Rp 10.000,00, bila kehabisan kapal, kami harus mencarter kapal seharga Rp 400.000,00. Kami melewatkan desa Segenter, desa lokal yang menawakan arsitektur kuno demi mengejar kapal menuju Trawangan.

Sesampainya di parkiran Bangsal, calo cidomo (delman) menghampiri kami, mereka menawarkan harga Rp 20.000,00-Rp 30.000,00 untuk satu cidomo yang berkapasitas 5 orang ini. Kami menawar separuh harga dan naiklah kami di cidomo, ternyata perjalanan dari pelataran parkir ke pelabuhan hanyalah 3 menit dari cidomo. Setelah kubayar dengan harga yang pertama kami sepakati, kusir cidomo meminta uang tambahan lagi. Dengan kesal aku meninggalkan cidomo karna dia tidak menepati perjanjian awal.

Di Bangsal, lebih banyak calo lagi. Aku masuk ke tiket lokasi dengan waswas membeli tiket dan meyakinkan diriku bahwa aku berurusan dengan petugas yang benar dan bukan calo. Tiket menuju Trawangan seharga Rp 10.000,00 karna lokasinya yang paling ujung. Gili Meno yang berada di tengah diberi tarif Rp 9.000,00 sedangkan Gili Air hanya Rp 8.000,00. Untuk menuju tiga gili wisatawan harus mencarter kapal, kali ini kami hanya penasaran menuju Gili Trawangan, jadi kami melewatkan Gili Meno dan Air.

Penyebrangan selama 30 menit ini membuatku berkenalan dengan orang lokal yang memiliki homestay di Trawangan. Homestaynya Imagemenawarkan penginapan tanpa/dengan AC juga peralatan snorkel dan sepeda untuk berkeliling pulau. Setibanya di Trawangan, petugas berseragam memberhentikan kami dengan alasan pendataan. Mereka meminta kartu identitas, ku mulai curiga apakah mereka akan meminta uang. Tepat dugaanku setelah temanku menulis nama dan nomer ktp nya dia meminta uang retribusi, padahal petugas pelabuhan Bangsal berjanji tidak akan ada lagi pungutan di Gili Trawangan.

Rasa jengkel memenuhiku kuputuskan berjalan-jalan dan meninggalkan bapa berseragam yang sudah mencak-mencak dan mengancam kalo terjadi apa-apa tidaklah mungkin petugas pelabuhan datang untuk membantu. Temanku sebenarnya hanya dimintai uang Rp 1.000,00 (tentu saja aku tidak tahu, dan terlampau kesal dengan banyaknya calo yang ketemui yang meminta rupiah kepada wisatawan). Memerah mukaku karna malu setelah temanku menyampaikan kebingungannya bertanya kenapa aku marah untuk uang seribu rupiah.

Seandainya tidak ada banyak calo semakin menyenangkan perjalanan ini, karena tidak harus otot-ototan menawar dengan harga yang masuk akal. Lepas dari semua itu, Gili Trawangan merupakan surga! Airnya yang jernih, gradasi warna yang luar biasa, cafe-cafe nan cantik, udara yang segar membuyarkan kepenatan. Fasilitas jalan tanah yang belum beraspal tidak mempengaruhi hotel-hotel butik berdiri tegak. Hampir di setiap hotel sepanjang pantai mempunyai kolam renang untuk para wisatawan belajar menyelam. Pilihan yang sangat menggoda, tapi waktuku hanyalah sampai jam3 sore untuk pulang menggunakan kapal publik.

Sengatan matahari tengah hari membuat kami menghampiri penjual gelato. Pemandangan pantai yang memanjakan mata serta semilir angin pantai juga kenyamanan kursi kayu membuat kami tidak ingin beranjak. Cidomo berlalu-lalang mengantar wisatawan menuju hotel ataupun berjalan-jalan mengelilingi pulau. Awalnya kami ingin menyewa sepeda untuk mengelilingi pulau, tapi jalan yang penuh lubang serta ancaman cidomo yang sudah memakan seluruh jalan yang ada membuat kami membuang ide bersepeda.

Seorang ibu beranak tiga menawarkan berbagi kapal untuk mengelilingi ketiga gili. Dengan antusias kami terima undangan itu, walau harus kami rela menolaknya saat mengetahui bahwa kapal itu baru akan menjemput kami jam 3 sore. Kami pun kembali bertemu dengan bule Prancis yang kami temui di hari pertama di Lombok. Mereka terlihat sangat senang menyelam di setiap gili, mereka mengambil paket menyelam setiap harinya.

ImageAku pun tertantang melakukannya di kemudian hari. Setelah menemukan restoran tepi pantai dekat penampungan kura-kura, kami menyantap pasta makan siang hari itu. Saung kecil depan restoran menghadap pantai membuat temanku senang berdiam diri di sana saat aku menjelajah dunia ikan dengan peralatan snorkel. Banyak ikan yang kutemui dan bahkan ular laut yang berjalan menyembunyikan dirinya diantara karang. Arus air yang cukup deras membuatku sedikit pusing dan menyudahi aktivitas air hari itu.

Restoran yang kami pilih, menyediakan shower itu ternyata menyewakan kamar. Sungguh lengkap fasilitasnya dengan harga makanan yang terjangkau. Tepat dengan nama restorannya ‘Genius’, satu tempat untuk segala kebutuhan. Kami pun berjalan menuju pelabuhan dan membeli tiket pulang. Kali ini kami memilih 5 menit berjalan kaki menuju pelataran parkir. Mobil sewaan menuju Mataram, sementara aku tertidur. Sebelum sampai di ibukota Nusa Tenggara Barat, kami mampir di Malimbu, spot nongkrong pinggir jalan yang menawarkan pemandangan Gili Trawangan, Meno dan Air juga Pantai Senggigi ditemani dengan jagung bakar, kelapa muda dan ikan bakar.

Sampai Mataram kami mengunjungi Pura Taman Meruya, ada kolam besar di tengah taman, pepohonan rindang menyambut kami masuk ke pelataran pura. Sekelompok umat Hindu sedang menjalankan ibadahnya di sore yang cerah. Harum bunga dan dupa menyapa kami saat kami berjalan berkeliling. Perjalanan kami lanjutkan ke Pura Meru di seberang jalan, tidak ada orang selain kami berdua. Petugas pura tua memberikan kami sepotong kain tanda suci memasuki pura. Pura yang eksotis ini tidak banyak dikunjungi wisatawan, jadi petugas pura meminta sumbangan wajib saat kami datang.

Selesai melihat-lihat pura, kami berkeliling Mataram melihat tempat nongkrong anak lokal di Udayana dan taman kota. Kami menuju Ampenan, kota tua untuk makan malam. Temanku yang sudah bosan dengan makanan lokal pelecing serta ayam taliwang memilih mie jakarta sebagai hidangan penutup di Lombok. Aku sendiri berjalan-jalan sekitar Ampenan dan menemukan penjual kebab Libanon dan menghadiahi diriku kebab dan roti maryam serta teh tarik sebagai makan malam. Penjualnya bercerita dia baru saja pulang dari liburan Jawa Bali setelah menebak kota asalku.

Malam terakhir di Lombok membuat kami sadar betapa waktu sangat cepat berlalu. Kami memasukkan semua barang ke tas dan bergegas tidur walau akhirnya kami terjaga hingga tengah malam mendiskusikan perjalanan kami. Keesokan harinya, ibu dan kakak teman yang kami tumpangi rumahnya, mengantarkan aku ke Teluk Kodek tempat kapal cepat menjemput kami dan menyebrangkan kami ke Bali.

Sebelum ke Teluk Kodek, kakak temanku memberikan nasi campur untuk sarapan kami. Dia menunjukkan lokasi-lokasi wisata yang kami lewati dan berjanji mengantar kami ke sana, bila kami mengunjungi pulau ini lagi. Kami melewati Ampenan, pelabuhan tua yang sekarang sedang dibangun menjadi pelabuhan internasional bernama Ampenan Harbour yang direncanakan rampung dalam 2 tahun.Sesampainya di teluk, kami berpisah dan melanjutkan perjalanan ke tujuan masing-masing.

Menurutku, Lombok merupakan destinasi yang juga menarik untuk dikunjungi. Tempatnya yang masih sepi dan juga asri mengalahkan Bali yang sudah dipadati pengunjung. Lain kali aku akan mengunjungi Gili Lawang dan Sulat di Utara Lombok yang konon sangat cantik seperti keindahan Maldives… Juga menaiki Rinjani dan melihat Danau Segara Anak, setelah mengunjungi desa Segenter dan bersosialisasi dengan masyarakat Sembalun.

Duh lupa…. Cerita tentang desa sade, desa tradisional yang ada di arah kita mau pergi ke tanjung An. Diisi sama 80 kepala keluarga, mata pencahariannya nenun. Pas di sana hampir tiap 3 rumah ada yang jual kain tenun, juga gantungan kunci/kalung dari tanduk kerbau. Kerbau bekas persembahan atau pesta, tanduknya diambil dipotong-potong, direndem dan diukir/dibentuk jadi kalung. Bentuk yang paling sering ditemui bentuk tokek yang menyimbolkan keberuntungan.

Sepuh yang tinggal di desa ini masih mengunyah sirih supaya gigi mereka kuat. Bercak merah di tanah menandakan sepuh yang habis mengkonsumsi sirih.

Kami sempat masuk ke rumah tradisionalnya. Atapnya sangat rendah untuk menghangatkan udara di dalam ruangan. Rumah tersebut dibagi menjadi 3 bagian undakan. Pertama halaman, kedua tempat tidur ayah dan ibu, yang terakhir dapur sekaligus kamar gadis, juga tempat melahirkan. Kamar mandi ada di luar diperuntukkan beberapa keluarga yang telah membuat sumur. Ada juga beberapa rumah telah mempunyai ruang MCK sendiri.

Rumah ini menjadi menarik karena lantainya dibuat dari campuran kotoran sapi/kerbau dengan sekam padi, agar menghindari lalat. Lantai dipel menggunakan ramuan yang sama pula.

Nenun adalah pekerjaan dan syarat untuk para gadis dapat menikah. Bila mereka tidak dapat menenun, mereka tidak akan diberi ijin menikah. Ada satu nenek yang sedang memintal kapas menjadi benang menggunakan alat tradisional, seperti yang ada di dongeng putri tidur. Saya sempat mencoba memintal benang, tentu saja tidak bisa. Setelah kapas dipintal menjadi benang, benang dicelup ke cat warna lalu ditenun. Cara menenun hampir sama dengan yang saya pelajari di NTT, hanya coraknya berbeda. Kain tenun dipergunakan untuk upacara adat, mas kawin, keperluan sehari-hari dan oleh-oleh dari NTB.


Bali, Never Ending Story

Pergi ke Bali, merupakan hal yang sangat menyenangkan. Walaupun ini bukan kali pertama, tapi sensasi pergi ke Pulau Dewata ini tetap mengesankan. Penerbangan siang dari Bandung ke Bali tidak terasa. Sejam di udara tidak begitu membosankan, awan-awan berkilauan memantulkan sinar matahari. Udara Bali menyapa kami di Ngurah Rai. Berbagai rombongan berseragam warna kaos tertentu bergerombol di sudut-sudut bandara.

Sebuah keluarga kecil kompak dengan kaus pelangi mereka. Berpuluh-puluh maskapai masuk keluar bandara internasional ini. Wisatawan dari mancanegara berdatangan ke pulau yang kadang tidak dianggap berada di Indonesia. Mereka tahu Bali, tapi tidak tahu Indonesia. Penduduknya yang ramah kepada turis serta tradisinya yang kental membuatku nyaman berkunjung kemari.

Kali ini, aku dan rombongan teman kerja pergi ke sini. Kami dijemput oleh bus travel yang akan mengantar kami selama di Bali. Bus berkapasitas 35 orang ini mengantar kami ke hotel Aroma’s Legian. Salah satu tempat favorit turis asing, yang juga tempat pemboman oleh teroris. Hotel yang juga merangkap apartemen ini dilengkapi oleh kolam renang yang panjang. Tak sabar rasanya berenang di sana.

Segelas air jeruk meredakan dahaga dan sebuah kunci dibagikan ke masing-masing peserta. Kami pun beranjak dari lobby menuju kamar masing-masing. Acara bebas dimulai, sebelum 2 hari ke depan kami harus tetap ada dalam kelompok. Ada yang langsung menyewa motor seharga 50.000, ada yang mencari makan, ada yang bersantai di hotel, sedangkan aku sibuk menghubungi teman.


Senangnya punya teman yang bekerja di Bali, dia dengan antusias menjemputku di hotel dan mengantarku ke Denpasar. Di sana kami mencicip nasi campur babi panggang. Harga Rp 15.000,00 ditukar dengan nasi serta pelecing, sate lilit, daging babi serta jeroan. Kami pun beranjak ke Lembah Pujian. Di sini kami mengunjungi Gereja Bethel Indonesia Rocks. Gedungnya lebih seperti resort daripada gedung gereja kebanyakan. Di depan lobby mereka menyediakan kolam untuk baptisan.

Sesampainya di dalam, interior modern tertata rapi diiringi lagu Hillsongs. Kami pun ikut masuk ke dalam perjamuan kudus. Sebelum pulang, ku sempatkan diri masuk ke toilet yang ternyata bertuliskan prince dan princess sangat spesial. Saat ku masuk mobil temanku, baru kusadar aku telah menghilangkan satu dari sepasang sendalku saat menggantinya dengan sepatu. Sekarang aku seperti Cinderella hanya punya sebelah sendal.

Kami tiba di restoran ayam betutu Gilimanuk, temanku ingin sekali mencicipi ayam ini. Setelah kulihat logo restorannya, ternyata sama seperti yang ada di Bandung. Tidak perlu ke Bali untuk merasakan ayam betutu. Aku memesan es campur yang tidak seperti dalam bayanganku, karna mereka menaruh es batu bukan es serut.

Seusai makan, kami memisahkan diri ke hotel bertemu teman lama yang sedang bekerja di Ubud. Juga teman lainnya yang menginap di Kuta. Sementara temanku meluncur ke Hard Rock Cafe.

Saat jam 12 berdentang, kami masuk kamar dan mengisi tenaga untuk esok hari. Pagi-pagi aku mencoba berenang di kolam panjang nan biru. Kandungan kaporit yang terlalu banyak membuat mataku perih. Aku bergegas sarapan dan masuk bus. Bus kami meluncur ke Tanjung Benoa.

Tempat wisata air, dimana kami menyewa glass bottom boat menuju pulau penangkaran penyu. Tidak terlalu banyak terumbu karang yang dapat kami lihat. Ikan berbondong-bondong mendekati perahu saat temanku mulai melemparkan serpihan roti. Kami pun melihat beberapa paraisailing warna warni menghiasi udara.

Sesampainya kami di pulau ini, kami disambut dengan segerombolan anak SMA Jawa Timur yang berebut ingin berfoto dengan teman ekspariatku. Temanku merasa jengah dengan keadaan itu, memaksa diri untuk tersenyum agar terlihat bagus di kamera. Bukan satwa yang dilihat, ternyata temanku yang Kaukasian ini lebih menarik untuk difoto.


Semakin banyak yang meminta foto, aku pun mengajaknya ke tempat yang lebih sepi. Salah satu pojok pulau yang tidak dipadati pengunjung. Temanku memilih berjemur dan membaca buku. Aku kembali ke dalam pulau, melihat-lihat burung elang, toucan, kelelawar, penyu dan berfoto bersama teman yang lain.

Kunjungan singkat ini membawa kami kembali ke Tanjung Benoa. Kami memiliki waktu bebas, untuk dipergunakan naik banana boat, parasailing, snorkeling atau kegiatan air lainnya. Awalnya aku dan temanku ingin snorkeling tapi setelah melihat air keruh dari kapal yang kami sewa, kami urungan niat ini.

Aku memilih minum air kelapa plus jeruk yang kemudian diikuti semua teman-teman setelah tahu harganya hanya Rp 3.000,00.  Teman yang lain membeli rujak untuk menambah kesegaran di hari yang panas. Kulihat beberapa penduduk lokal sedang membuat kerajinan dari daun pisang. Aku pun tertarik untuk bergabung. Mereka membuatnya untuk keperluan upacara dan persembahan sehari-hari. Aku menawarkan bantuan dan mereka dengan senang hati mengajarkanku. Tak terasa waktuku habis dan kami harus pergi ke tujuan berikutnya.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana, patung mahakarya Nyoman Nuarte menjadi salah satu objek wisata yang harus dikunjungi di Bali. Patung yang terdiri dari burung garuda yang sedang dinaiki dewa Wisnu ini rencananya akan rampung tahun 2017. Patung ini kelak menjadi patung tertinggi di Indonesia.

Setelah makan di salah satu restoran di sana, kami pun berjalan berkeliling taman luas ini. Kacamata hitam, topi dan tabir surya menjadi perlengkapan wajib memasuki kawasan yang langsung terkena sinar matahari ini. Perjalanan dilanjutkan ke museum dimana Pak Nyoman menampilkan beberapa hasil karyanya. Juga pemutaran video cara pembuatan patung. Museum Pak Nyoman juga ada di Bandung, tepatnya di perumahan Setra Duta.

Di museum, Pak Nyoman berbagi tempat dengan seniman lokal. Ada yang menawarkan jasa lukis wajah, tattoo temporary, kepang rambut dan nail art. Semuanya dibayar secara sukarela. Aku tentu saja ingin mencoba semuanya. Pertama aku mendatangi Mba Sri yang akan mengepang rambutku dan mencat kukuku. Aku memilih warna pink muda sebagai dasar dan dia mulai menggambar jepun (bunga kamboja khas Bali) di jari-jariku. Setelah kuku tanganku cantik, giliran rambutku yang dikepang. Aku dijadikan tontonan orang-orang yang keluar masuk museum yang ingin tahu harga kepangan rambutku. Ingin rasanya kupasang papan “BIAYA SUKARELA”.

IMG_0204Rambutku tampak cantik dikepang lima. Sayang seniman tattoo temporary sedang berlibur, bila tidak aku akan mencobanya juga. Waktu yang terbatas membuatku tidak dapat mencoba lukisan wajah yang selalu ramai dipadati pengunjung. Bus kami meluncur ke Pura Uluwatu.

Sebenarnya aku ingin berjalan kaki menuju pantai-pantai tersembunyi nan eksotis daerah Uluwatu. Tapi karna aku bersama rombongan, aku harus puas berjalan bersama mereka dengan menjaga anak temanku dari gangguan monyet-monyet nakal di pura ini. Temanku yang menggunakan kacamata merasa tidak nyaman dan sedikit takut saat monyet-monyet itu merebut kacamatanya.

Kami berkeliling pura, di tingkat teratas, kami melihat bentangan laut biru, ombak berderu-deru di bawah kaki kami. Sepintas IMG_0222kulihat jalan berpagar menuju ujung tebing Uluwatu yang terlihat sangat indah. Kuajak salah satu teman untuk berjalan bersamaku, sementara yang lain menolak untuk ikut. Kami berjalan dan bertemu beberapa wisatawan asing yang kemudian meninggalkan tempat setibanya kami disana.

Tempat lapang yang ditumbuhi pepohonan juga rumah bagi monyet ini terlihat lebih indah, dimana kami bisa melihat bibir pantai juga keindahan tebing menjulang menopang pura. Matahari menyinari punggung kami, laut biru berkilauan. Ombak yang terhempas menyisakan buih putih yang lembut. Tak ingin rasanya meninggalkan tempat ini, tapi apa daya daripada dicari-cari oleh anggota rombongan yang lain, kami mencari jalan keluar.

Jalan yang kami pilih menghantarkan kami ke gerbang masuk. Aku mengajak temanku melihat toko cenderamata sebelum kami menonton pertunjukkan kecak. Aku membeli sepasang sendal biru payet lengkap dengan bunga kamboja seharga Rp 15.000,00 pengganti sendalku yang hilang tadi malam. Kami juga membeli jepit jepun warna warni seharga Rp 5.000,00. Setelah puas menawar dan berbelanja kami membaurkan diri dengan rombongan kami.

Mereka telah lama menunggu sambil waswas barang mereka akan diambil oleh monyet-monyet. Kami pun bergegas menuju lokasi pertunjukkan. Ku tak sabar menonton tari kecak, tari tradisional tanpa menggunakan instrumen musik. Alunan musik keluar dari nyanyian penari kecak yang berbunyi cak,cak,cak.


Sekelompok laki-laki bercelana kotak hitam putih memamerkan punggung mereka yang terbakar matahari. Mereka duduk melingkar dan mulai bernyanyi cak,cak,cak. Sesekali mereka mengayunkan tubuhnya ke kiri dan ke kanan, menggelengkan kepala juga menggerakkan tangan. Lalu datanglah penari lain yang bertindak sebagai Rama, Sinta.

Diceritakan Rama dan Sinta sedang memadu kasih, lalu diganggu oleh Rahwana. Sinta diculik Rahwana, singkat cerita Hanoman, sang monyet putih membantu Rama untuk menolong Sinta. Hanoman yang sempat tertangkap oleh Rahwana dan kawan-kawan dan hampir dibakar hidup-hidup, tapi karna kesaktiannya, dia dapat meloloskan diri. Sinta dan Rama kembali bersama.

Pertunjukkan yang diadakan di luar ruangan ini dipenuhi ratusan wisatawan asing dan lokal yang mengitari ‘pagung’. Para penari menyuguhkan tarian yang cantik diiringi dengan pemandangan matahari terbenam yang menakjubkan.

Kami menutup malam kami di salah satu restoran Jimbaran. Kami disambut oleh penari Bali yang memberikan jepun pada setiap pengunjung. Mereka menjamu kami dengan hasil laut segar seperti ikan, udang dan kerang. Setelah kenyang, kami pun bermain ke pantai yang hanya 4 meter jaraknya dari meja makan kami. Kami berlarian mengejar ombak, sungguh menyenangkan.

Keesokan harinya, matahari menyapa dengan sinar hangatnya. Aku pun menceburkan diri ke kolam untuk meregangkan otot-otot sebelum mandi dan sarapan. Perjalanan yang akan kami tempuh cukup jauh, maka kupastikan kuisi perutku dengan cukup karbohidrat dan protein.

Bus kami meluncur ke kawasan Kintamani, dataran tinggi yang menawarkan pemandangan Gunung dan Danau Batur. Rasa lelah di perjalanan pun terbayar lunas saat kami duduk di beranda restoran menghadap keindahan alam itu. Konon kami dapat menyebrangi danau dan mengunjungi desa Trunyan. Desa itu mempunyai cerita yang sangat memikatku, mereka biasanya mempunyai tradisi membakar jenazah yang diselenggarakan dalam upacara keagamaan, ngaben. Aku penasaran ingin melihat acara itu dan berkunjung ke Trunyan.


Bli Wayan, tour leader kami membelalakan matanya saat tahu aku ingin pergi ke sana. Dia tidak dapat menjamin keselamatanku bila aku memisahkan diri dari kelompok. Sayang sekali, padahal aku kira aku dapat berkunjung ke sana karna dia punya kenalan di Trunyan. Beliau menjelaskan betapa berbahayanya tempat itu, apalagi aku adalah seorang gadis. Mungkin mereka akan memberhentikan kapal di tengah danau. Atau aku tersesat di hutan dan lainnya.

Perjalanan dilanjutkan ke Pura Besakih, di jalan kami melihat patung bayi besar. Itu dibangun sebagai tanda agar setiap pasangan muda bertanggungjawab akan apa yang mereka lakukan dan tidak melakukan hubungan seksual sebelum menikah. Di kawasan tersebut (konon) angka kehamilan di luar pernikahan sangatlah tinggi.

Hujan rintik-rintik menyambut kami saat kami berada di pelataran parkir pura. Pura terbesar di Bali itu mempunyai daya tarik sendiri karena kami harus mendaki ratusan anak tangga untuk sampai ke puncak. Bila wisatawan tidak mau lelah, tentu jasa ojek dapat dipilih untuk sampai ke pelataran pura. Seperti aturan di pura lainnya, pengunjung wanita yang datang bulan tidak diperkenankan masuk, karna dianggap tidak suci. Selain itu mereka yang bercelana pendek harus mengenakan kain lilit.

Tidak perlu khawatir bosan menunggu kawan yang sedang melihat keindahan Pura Besakih, karena wisata belanja di sekitarnya pun sangat menggoda. Penjual kain, baju, asesoris asal Bali ini sangat ramah. Mereka juga fasih berbicara dengan bahasa asing. Inggris sudah pasti, Mandarin bahkan Perancis pun dikuasai. Dengan iseng aku menawar dengan bahasa Perancis, penjual tersenyum dan semakin terlihat bersahabat. Aku pun berhasil membawa pulang sarung Bali bermotifkan Spongebob kesukaan adikku.

Sepulangnya dari pura, hari sudah sore, beberapa kawan memilih pergi ke pantai. Aku mencari makan malam dan pergi ke mall Discovery, di sana pengunjung mall dapat melihat bentangan pantai dan laut yang luas. Aku berjalan di pertokoan Kuta dan keluar menenteng tas belanja yang besar. Diskon besar-besaran selalu digelar. Kali ini potongan harga bertajuk “mid year sale”, di penghujung tahun mereka akan menggantung spanduk “end year sale”.

Banyak pertokoan di daerah Kuta dan Legian karena merekalah pusat turis berada. Ada beberapa toko yang menulis “garage sale” dan menulis seakan-akan hari itu adalah hari terakhir mereka berjualan. Nyatanya keesokan harinya bahkan seminggu setelahnya mereka tetap berdagang. Bar dan restoran segala macam negara juga ada di sini. Salon dan spa juga memadati wilayah ini.

Hari terakhirku di Bali aku menyusuri kawasan Seminyak. Kutapaki pantai Seminyak, Legian sampai Kuta. Aku yang ingin dikepang dan merasakan pijat Bali berjalan dari jam 7. Banyak wisatawan asing yang memanfaatkan pantai kosong untuk jogging dan berlari. Ada yang hanya ingin menikmati keindahan alam. Aku sendiri, menanti ibu pengepang rambut.

Ibu pengepang rambut ternyata datang jam 9, ujar seorang balawista. Bli Ngurah menguraikan kisahnya menjadi seorang penjaga pantai. Dia yang jatuh cinta akan pantai ini, rela meninggalkan kampung halamannya menuju Kuta untuk menjadi balawista. Tujuh tahun sudah dia mengabiskan hari-hari mengawasi pengunjung pantai dan memastikan tidak ada kecelakaan. Di kala air laut pasang dan ombak tinggi, dia harus berkali-kali memperingatkan peselancar agar lebih berhati-hati. Kesiapan fisik dan pengetahuan tentang pertolongan pertama yang menjadi syarat utama menjadi seorang balawista.

Obrolan dengan Bli Ngurah membuatku ingin mengunjungi kampung halamannya. Pantai Nusa Lembongan yang bersih dan air yang jernih itu ada di sebrang Nusa Penida.
Selesai obrolan pagi, aku merasa lapar
karena belum sarapan. Sang penjaga pantai pun menyarankan aku membeli nasi bungkus Ibu Jawa di sebelah kantornya. Nasi bungkus seharga Rp 5.000,00 ini terdiri dari nasi hangat, mie goreng, lauk (pilihan daging ayam/sapi/ikan) juga sayur tempe lodeh.

Setelah kenyang, aku berjalan lagi dan berpamitan dengan Bli Ngurah. Tak lama kemudian aku ditawari kursi berjemur seharga Rp 50.000,00 per dua jam. Ada juga yang menawarkan jasa pelajaran surfing yang tentu saja kutolak karna dalam 3 jam aku harus berada di airport.

Akhirnya aku bertemu tiga ibu tengah baya yang sedang mengobrol saat kutanya apakah mereka mau mengepang rambutku, mereka bersorak kegirangan. Salah satu ibu langsung membuka harga untuk jasa mengepang rambut. Setelah terjadi kesepakatan, dia pun mulai menjajah kepalaku. Ibu yang lain mulai menyodorkan semua asesoris yang dia punya dan menyuruhku membelinya. Ibu lainnya pergi ke tamu lain saat tahu aku tidak mau dipijat saat dikepang.

Setengah kepangan, hujan rintik-rintik datang. Ibu yang sedang mengepangku panik dia langsung menutupi lapak jualannya dengan terpal. Saat heboh mengemasi kaos dan celana Bali, ada pengunjung lain yang berniat berbelanja. Dia pun kesenangan dan meninggalkanku dengan rambut setengah berkepang setengah lurus. Aku pun protes, “Bu, bagaimana dengan rambutku?”IMG_0188

Ibu penjual gelang yang senang telah dibeli barangnya olehku, mulai mengepang rambutku. Hasilnya agak kacau :( Rambutku akhirnya rampung dikepang, aku pun ingin mencoba pijatan ala Bali. Aku dipijat oleh ibu lainnya yang baru datang. Memang hasilnya tidak sebagus dari salon, tapi melihat kebersamaan dan keikhlasan membagi rejeki, priceless.

Membuatku ingin berkampanye.Bila berkunjung ke Bali, belilah suvenir dari pedagang lokal di tempat wisata. Bila Anda dapat menawar, mereka akan memberi harga yang sangat terjangkau. Dahulu Pasar Sukowati adalah tempat favorit wisatawan untuk memborong oleh-oleh. Sekarang ini tidak lagi, dikarenakan jarak yang jauh dari pusat keramaian Kuta dan Legian. Di sisi lain, banyak pusat perbelanjaan oleh-oleh di sepanjang jalan menuju bandara yang mematikan perekonomian rakyat kecil. Sama halnya toko waralaba yang buka 24 jam bersaing dengan warung kecil.