Modesty, propriety can lead to notoriety
You could end up as the only one
Gentleness, sobriety are rare in this society
At night a candle’s brighter than the sun
Takes more than combat gear to make a man
Takes more than a license for a gun
Confront your enemies, avoid them when you can
A gentleman will walk but never run
I’m an alien I’m a legal alien..
( Englishman In New York by Sting )
I heard this song on a bright night, nearby Lovina Beach. I’d heard it many times before, but on that certain night, it’s exceptionally carved into my memory. It was sung by a live singer in a semi-outdoor bar, while I was wandering around with my friends, looking for something halal and edible. Somehow when I really listened to this song, I could empathize with the lonely englishman and bitterness of his tale.
It’s been over a month since the first day of my internship programme. I can’t help but keep counting down to the last day.. which is no longer than 3 weeks to go. Yaay!
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m suffering or not enjoying my intership-life here. I just really miss my home, that’s all. I miss sleeping on my bed, playing my piano, dancing on my DDR mat, taking a hot-water shower in my 1.8×0.9 square meter bathroom..
And I hate the fact that I spend my savings–and my parents savings–much more than I usually need, just for the sake of my internship here. I’m sorry for being a little bit stingy. Well not a little, actually. I can be really stingy sometimes. But I won’t talk more about the true colors of my character, because since I’d started living here, there’re countless times when I felt so out-of-character, I don’t know my self anymore. (Gah. And here I am talking about hating too much drama. -__-)
So where the hell is “here” that I’ve been talking about? Guess what. I’m currently staying in the most infamous vacation destination province–or you could also call it island–of Indonesia.
Ring a bell? Yeah right, I’m staying in..
Wait, did I hear a ‘boo’? Where did that sound come from?? Okay, sorry for your disappointment. I know I wrote ‘summer’ and the place I went supposed to be somewhere, with at least four seasons occured every year. And there is no summer in Bali. Not in Indonesia. There are actually rainy and dry season, that’s all. And I refuse to change this title into ‘Dry Internship Tale‘. No thanks, it would be too funny and ambiguous. I’ll stick with the current title.
Talk about the weather
I always expecting Bali to be hot, humid, and too much nasty sunshine. Well what’s to expect from a tropical island? To be frank I’m not a big fan of hot weather. I’ve spent most of my life in Bandung, a city of Indonesia which temperature’s rate 22 celcius degree. And in the last 4 years I live in one of the coldest area in Bandung. People says that they who live in cold place will yearn for sunshine. Well I don’t.
Back to Bali, it appeared to be as I expected. At least at the beginning. But now, I even think about reconsider the title. It said Summer Internship, but these last days didn’t feel like summer at all. Yes, the first days were so hot and too much sunshine especially at noon, sometimes made me too lazy to go out of the office on luch break.
Then it happened about a week ago. Once upon a peace morning in Renon, Denpasar, the rain fell. It had been raining even before I wake up at 5 am. Seems like it was raining all night long, and finally stopped on 9 am, right on time when I had to go to work. Touche. Then I walked to the office, struggled passing through after-rain-flooding Jalan Badak Agung. But that’s not the point. Later that day I found out from the Landlord that the coldest months of the year in Bali are June, July, and August. Because it was winter in Australia and somehow it affected Bali. Exactly during the months of my internship programme. Wow. Lucky!
What kind of place that you want to visit the most in Bali? For me, it’s always, always been the beach. I could even say confidently that every beach in Bali is Beautiful. Each one of them has its own character of beauty. Just name it, what are you looking for in a beach?
Wanna see sunrise, while doing some morning sports like bicycling or jogging on the seashore? And maybe a little bit canoeing and swimming? Let’s go to Sanur Beach.
Wanna see sunset, swimming, surfing, make a sand castle, or if you feel a little tired maybe sitting in an open-aired cafe with a sunrise view, and then take a walk to the shops? Let’s go to Kuta Beach.
Wanna take a photo of a beach with impressive reefs, cliff, or coral? Maybe Water Blow beach in Nusa Dua, Green Bowl, Suluban, and Padangpadang could be your choices.
..and actually there were some beautiful beaches I haven’t mention here, but believe me, it really wasn’t that difficult to find them in Bali.
Land of Artists
Another unusual thing I found in Bali was ladies working at a construction site. Not as an architect or manager, but as a construction worker. You know, people who’s bringing the sands, stones, materials around and all sorts of manly activities in construstion site. I saw ladies in their 30 or 40 did those things! It could be just another daily scenery in some places (that includes Bali now) but not in my hometown. Maybe that’s from the culture. In my hometown, gender is still an important matter when we talk about jobs and professions. Not that they against feminism or gender equality, but however women and men are different, so they act accordingly.
As I talked to my friends, we concluded 2 theories. Both of them supported by the gender equality culture. First theory: the construction site pays high salary. And Balinese women don’t have anything against their desicion if they worked there, so be it. Everyone loves money, that includes men and women, even those who didn’t fit to be either of them. JK. The second theory is: balinese men mostly work as an artist, so they have to take care of their hands, only using them to make artworks. Therefore all who left for rough works like construction are only the women. Actually this is quite logical. But if this theory’s really true.. It’s so sad.
However the artists are truly one of main attractions of Bali. In Bali, almost every area has its own special art commodity. Like paintings in Ubud, silver and gems in Batubulan, batik and woven fabrics in Klungkung, sculptures in..somewhere in Bali (I forget, sorry!), and so on.
Cultures – Tolerance
Bali is the Island of God. You could smell the religious air in Bali, practically and literally. Because they burns dupa everyday, it became a special smell of Bali. I haven’t travel so much, but I never know any place more respective and appreciative in multi-religion matters. Nowhere more than Bali.
One day, I visited a mangrove preservation park and I had to do my afternoon pray (it’s ashar time). Back then I had to do it exactly that time and there, because we don’t have enough time to make it to our next destination. So I was hesitantly asking if I could use a small space behind the locket officer for praying. The officer didn’t allow me because it’s still working hour, but then he promptly—almost eagerly—show me the way to a square room, and called out another officer to lend me the key. Without at least bit of suspicion. And only in a few seconds, it seems like all of officers knowing about my case.. I was flattered, so much I almost felt awkward. Many people from random direction show me the way, like they really want to help. Even the lavatory boy insisted that he did not want to receive the tax I pay, because I had to take some water for wudhu before I pray. What an unusual experience.
Anyway the majority of Balinese believes in Hiduism, and they have many kinds of interesting ceremonies. And everytime the ceremony or any religious activity due, we all take a day off. So that’s why people said Bali stands for Banyak Libur (Many holidays, in Bahasa Indonesia).
The Streets and Honk Maniacs
People in Bali sure loves to honk. They honk in every chance they get. Sometimes it’s irrational and pointless, like there are no cause to do it, but they still do it anyway. And everytime they do, it’s bloody annoying. (of course it is! what’s the use of honks anyway??) For nearly two months I stayed, I also witness more than one example of traffic rule violation. Watching a truck take a 180 degree turn by running over the street’s median is hardly unusual. It’s such a pity that they did’nt apply their great tolerance—as in religious matters—the same way once they’re on the streets. No offense to all polite drivers in Bali. This is merely my own opinion, based on first hand experience.
I’m an Alien Pedestrian in Bali
In the end I was an alien, a legal alien who’s walking everyday from my rented room to the office I worked as an intern. Believe it or not, it’s a weird thing in Bali. People really like to ride their own vehicle, everywhere. The ability to ride a motorcycle is a must. It’s almost as important as reading. You know why? Because they don’t familiar with the concept of public transportation culture.
The most crucial problem in Bali, I think, is the lack of public transport. It’s practically none. The only public transportation provided—and it was only launched for about 3 months—is a bus, called Sarbagita. It doesn’t stop by very often and it doesn’t reach every main streets in Bali. I don’t think it existence really helps. I mean, public transportation is a system. It is a combination of several transport modas. The use of a terminal or a bus stop is as a check point where we could change from one moda to another. A bus, like Sarbagita, can’t really stand alone as a public transport.
That’s my opinion, and I sincerely hope that Bali could be a better place to live in. It’s already a great and heaven-like place, where people dreams to go to on holidays.. but I believe it could do better that this. And I wish to spend a holiday there again.
Om Swastyastu! ^^