Story From Home (December 2005)

Hello people, I promised to give that holiday story and I just recently managed to sort and fix all the pictures, as well as choosing the one that I want to show you. However before I start. Let's give a few update first.

Today, I have dismissed my faithful NEC VXi to its bag (waiting for its final resting place. Soon, it will be relocated). So that means for those of you who don't know yet, I have a new laptop. Finally after much consideration and researching, I fell back to my original desire Sony Vaio VGN-FS35GP. So far so good, loving it. Well I guess if you have been working for quite a long time with a not-so-good computer, anything better than it, is highly welcomed. However, I must give thank to my tough NEC. It had its cranky moments but overall it was tough and it was always there for me. I remembered the days when it pulled through so many times for me during my times in NUS. I made it work hard and it never really failed. We've been together for 5 years plus and for some people it's way too long. The only reason I have to replace it, it's because it's obviously dying. I just hope this kind of loyalty can be given by my vaio too, we will just have to wait and see. Anyway, the whole process of buying was pretty painless. I supposed because I wasn't the one who paid. It was Vivy Apparently my card has limit. However the strange thing was, I managed to return back Vivy's money using the same card in one shot. So I don't know what happened. Anyways, still getting used to seeing the widescreen and all but overall, I'm pretty thankful for having this. Thank you Lord.

On other but must-mentioned story. I had a nice dinner with several people yesterday. Had much laughter. Will miss those people and with 1 person gone, I'm already feeling the "lost". Maybe it's time for me to move on also? Did God give me a sign last week? How strange. Oh yeah must also write about one of the most amazing present I've ever received in my life. Dagi gave me the most wonderful Christmas present. There was a card, a me-to-you figurine, a book (haven't starting reading yet), and 8 types of German / Austrian chocolates. Imagine that! I couldn't help feeling blessed by God. I just have a feeling it was God's way of giving some tender loving care. Came at right time for me, because when I opened it I was still bumped out about being in Singapore and also with all the things happening.

Okay, now for story from home.
Went home for around 2 weeks. Watched The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Goodness I never thought that I would like a movie that involved many talking animals but Narnia was really good. So good that I wanted to read the books. However, come to think of it maybe it's because I don't read the book, I was less critical towards it, unlike how I was with Potter.

Had dinner outside with mom and dad which is rarely happen in our family (we don't really eat out). So it was nice to have that time with them. Too bad they couldn't eat that much anymore or eat much of anything they like.

Met up with the girls (of course). We had our pictures taken (again, Marlisa's idea). This time there were some shots taken using our graduation gowns, me being the odd one out. Idrus was supposed to meet up with us also but it was raining in his area so he couldn't come. Then went out again with Marlisa and Dewi on Christmas day. Emilia didn't come for the obvious reason, it's Christmas. Anyway, being out with the girls and do the girls stuff we used to do back when I was at home just felt so good for me. It's like they're giving me sanity. Everything just felt so right. Really miss spending those times with them.

Okay, for the story that made me spent a lot of time to prepare. We went to a Java-Bali tour for the holiday. We as in me, my mom, Marlisa (my cousin), my mom's 2 older sisters, and my mom's sister-in-law. Initially I just wanted to go to Bali so I was thinking of taking the plane there straight. However since the family is not keen on wasting unnecessary money and as my mom's reasoning said that we were going to Bromo so we took the bus for the whole trip. However my mom had kindly arranged a flight back from Bali to Jakarta (I was so relieved knowing that). Anyways, I should just shut up with all the arrangement because my mom paid the whole trip for me, even gave me money to shop. Thank God, I am not really a "shopping" person.

So the trip started on December 26, 2005 at around 09:30 pm plus. In hope we could reach our destination early in the morning. Man! I couldn't sleep at all. Apparently mom and the rest also couldn't sleep. We reached our first destination Candi Borobudur (Borobudur Temple) at around 11 AM, I think. It was smaller than what I expected. For those who don't know, Candi Borobudur is an ancient Buddhist temple. I saw many of the Buddha's head are gone, I guess it because before restoration people actually stole and sold these precious artifacts. Restoration was still going on in some part of the temple when we came. Compromising with what the rest wanted (my mom, aunties and all) we didn't really explore the whole thing. I wasn't that happy about it, but at least I have been there. That's one thing off my list, thank you God. So here are the pictures from the place (my first time using photo blogger):

After that we went to our humble hotel in Jogjakarta. Arrived there in the afternoon. Then mom decided we should got out, take the becak, go round Malioboro (shopping of course) and find dinner. I seriously wanted to go to the Keraton during our time in Jogja. However, the timing wasn't permitting. The Keraton (The Jogjakarta's Sultan's Palace) closes at 1 PM (so I heard from the "becak mas"). So please remember that for anyone interested in visiting the place. Dinner was gudeg and so sorry for anyone from Jogja, gudeg isn't really my kind of food though I think the chicken was good.

The next day was spent to reach our hotel in the foot of Mount Bromo. What a long bus ride, only arriving at yet another humble hotel at around 7 or 8 PM. It was cold there. The plan was to wake up early in the morning to go to the peak and wait for the sunrise. Waiting for this:

The plan was to get going at 2 AM but I was already awoken sometime after midnight and we only left at around 02:30 AM We needed to take small jeeps there because the road is quite tough for ordinary cars or bus. In the jeep, there were 5 of us who were successfully being squeezed at the back. Still maybe I should be thankful because some jeeps had 6 people in the back. The road was rocky. I heard it's because there are tremors from the mountain (Mount Bromo is still an active volcano) that causes the road, no matter how hard they try to fix it, still rough. However the worst thing about it all was that there are sharp turnings every few meters. Gosh I actually thought I couldn't make it there, I wanted to vomit. I was seriously having motion sickness. My mom amazingly managed to sleep during the trip, even though she will deny it Thank God that the car broke down once and we went through a straight dessert trail once that I managed to breathe and didn't vomit at all. When we got up there, it was still very dark with the moon and the stars. The air was so so so cold. Seriously, no kidding. Bring your winter clothing there. We were wearing gloves and all. So we went up and waited in the dark (very) cold night for the sun to rise. Kinda silly actually, but coming early ensure a nice spot. It pretty cloudy so the outlook of seeing a clear sky during sunrise was pretty slim. During those time of waiting, my dear cousin, Marlisa, noticed Marcel or was it Misca, the handsome twin brothers of the current Miss Indonesia (2006) Nadine Chandrawinata. I was thinking, Gosh the trip up there was becoming more worthwhile. So of course, we took pictures with them. The boys were handsome and the three of them were so nice. They were thanking us for taking pictures with them, all the while I was thinking we should be thanking them. We already bothered them and yet they were really friendly and polite, really made me smile Since, I don't look good in pictures, I would post my cousin's picture with them She doesn't know but I am so sure she wouldn't mind

One, Miss Nadine is tall and two, yes my cousin is taller than she is. My cousin is very tall. She is pretty, I hope she can do well in Miss Universe and I just have to say this again, the brothers are handsome If ever God is willing to give me such a guy. Anyway, then the sun rised and the view seriously made the trip worthwhile. I am thankful to God for being able to see such view.

After that we were taken to the volcanic dessert, however because of the drizzle we decided to just go back for breakfast. Now I found out that there are interesting stuff in that volcanic dessert. There's one interesting crater nearby. Maybe some other time.

The next bus ride was for Bali. The exit point from Java is the city Banyuwangi where we including the bus took a ferry ride to arrive at Gilimanuk, the entry point in Bali. The whole bus ride was so freakingly long. We were so excited after the ferry ride but then we found out that we must take another 3-hour bus ride to reach Denpasar where our hotel is. So again, saw many trees, at that time no more rice fields, instead I think we were inside a Teak forest (Pohon Jati), then I saw a coconut plantation. Very interesting, I've never seen so many tall coconut trees, all in rows. Finally arrived in the hotel to rest. Oh yes, approaching Banyuwangi in Java, I saw a very interesting Power Plant or PLTU in Indonesian. I forget the name but it was so humongous and interesting. It seems they were taking water from the ocean using very big pipes and maybe use it to generate electricity and all. So interesting that I actually want to go inside and learn how things work.

Back to the Bali story. The next day, a lot of the trips were to shops. After the first shop, we watch the Barong Dance. I'm so glad that we did watch it, it was interesting. The Barong is a magical mystical lion which represents good. The whole performance was about good against evil, and the interesting concept is that good and evil will always exists together. One could not destroy the other. Here are the pictures. The flower and statues are from a shop we visited. The picture at the bottom is the last part of the Barong performance, those men were actually thrusting keris to their bodies and the person in white is the Hindu priest who I think was praying and making sure that they wouldn't hurt themselves. The creature is the Barong.

The other interesting destination of that day for me was going to Kintamani where we saw Danau and Gunung Batur (Lake and Mount Batur). Funny how I remember the lake from our last visit and my cousin remembers the mountain. The only regret from this place was that we didn't try the Kintamani durian.

The next day, the morning was spent visiting Tanjong Benoa in which we went to Pulau Penyu (Turtle Island in where we also saw other animals. We needed to take a boat there. They covered the bottom of the boat with glass so that we can see inside the ocean. There were funny and cute fish on our way there, they quickly ate the bread we threw. However my camera couldn't really get them. So this was the best one I have (I hope you know which one is the fish). The weather when we got there was sunny but it actually had been drizzling on our way there. There are a lot of water sports in Tanjong Benoa. Wanted to try parasailing but the people said the wind was too strong that it wouldn't be safe. My cousin wanted to try flying fish. I wasn't feeling particularly healthy that I didn't accompany her. She went up with Doddy, a guy from our tour group. That's her picture during the flying fish at the bottom left.

A visit to Bedugul was cancelled because there wasn't enough time. We went to Alas Kedaton to see monkeys. The monkeys are so smart and mischievous. They would turn back each time I tried to take their pictures. I think they were rather cute. I think the one on the bottom right was pregnant. They would actually carried their babies around. So cute and so small.

The last stop of the day was Tanah Lot, one of my favorite place. We actually queued up for the holy water. It kinda reminded me of Catholics during communion. After I washed up, I strangely slipped. Luckily I didn't hurt myself, but I felt it was kinda weird. Only after did I find out that we supposed to drink the water. Okay, what so holy about it? So this big rock is in the sea right, near the beach, but the water coming from the statue inside is actually fresh water (not salty sea water). How could such thing happen, I don't know. My cousin, Marlisa, told me the story. So here are the views:

So that finally marked the end of the whole tour. It was December 31, 2006 that day. Unexpectedly mom had her own idea of what to do for new year's eve. I somewhat felt she was influenced by her big sister. I thought the plan was to spend the new year with my cousin living there. In the end it changed to enjoying the new year in Kuta Beach. It may sound nice but it actually one of the stupidest new year I ever had. I'm having difficulty choosing this or the 2000's New Year's Eve as the number 1 on the stupidest new year's eve in my life. So because of what have been happening (the Bali bombings), no buses can go inside Kuta after 2 pm on December 31st (actually I think no big buses are ever allowed inside the busy Kuta streets). So the rest negotiated with the bus driver to drive us to the Central Parking and we would walk from there. We were told that it was not so far but the not-so-far turned out to be 3 km!!! So we were walking and walking and walking. It started to drizzle and rain would pour occasionally. As we were nearing the heart of Kuta, the streets are full with clubs and many drunk and scary people. Seriously not my idea of a peaceful and reflective new year's eve. We were still walking. Then we reach Hard Rock Cafe, the beach is only a few meters away. My cousin finally able to bought the T-shirts for her brother (still had the shopping spirit). After we got out the shop, the rain poured quite unkindly, so our group, my mom and aunties, and there were other people too from the tour group, we decided to just go back to the bus. We found a car that was willing to take us there and we just hopped on. So technically we never reached the beach. We got to the bus and it turned out the other group from the tour also decided to go back to the bus because of the rain. So we actually spent that change to 2006 in the bus! Stupid and I was feeling sick. The only comforting thing was that during the walk, I was walking hand in hand with my mom and my mom was there all the time. I think if my mom had not been there, I would have been so pissed. It was quite an experience and I am at least glad, I experienced it with my mom.

We went back the next day to Jakarta, on January 1 and I went back to Singapore on January 2. Hence all the mellow feeling and all the tiredness and me being sick. Okay *pHew* end of story. Gosh, what an effort I make to write this post.

Added (11/01/06): the pictures was resized by blogger to be smaller for display, I decided to just display the original size, so downloading time maybe smaller. Also fixed the very erroneous title.

:) eKa @ 9:09:00 PM •

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