mood: busy deleting deviations notifications
watching: John Tucker must die
My last weekend activity started early. I had a dinner invitation by Ismael (Nene) along with some other friends, Pam and Carol. I thought that was nice. So soon after I finished work on Friday, I went back home, took 15 minutes nap and refreshed myself until Pam picked me up with a taxi to head to Ismael's villa.

Carol as usual was very late. I called her at 8 (the time when we supposedly started the dinner) and she was still at home. I wouldn't mind that much when someone was late actually, except the fact that I am so not used to having dinner at 9. That's way too late for me, considering that I usually have lunch at 12 or 1. And I don't really snack... Besides that, I was curious how this Vincent guy whom she had been telling me a lot about lately. She bigged him as a gorgeous guy she met at a music concert in Denpasar a couple of weeks ago. While waiting for her to arrive, I shot some pics of Ismael preparing the dishes.

There was also another French guy (can't remember what exactly his name is.... probably Xavier), whose girlfriend is a Thai girl. Very, very sweet mannered. Very Thai. Her name is Aey.
Pam often made this mistake of talking to her in Bahasa Indonesia and I always had to keep reminding her that Aey was not Indonesian. Pam always said, "I did it again? Oh, sorry. But you look so Indonesian."

Carol also said a few times, "Hey Carla, don't you look alike with Aey! No wonder they kept mistaking you as a Thai girl when you were in Thailand."

N.o. W.a.y.

I can't believe my mates thought the same. Now look at this picture very carefully and tell me she doesn't look like me!!!!

In overall, the dinner was very nice. It was very relaxing. And though I lost about a quarter of the conversation because the men kept speaking in French (Ismael, Xavier and Vincent are French), it was cool to gather with friends and meet new people.

Left to right: Carol, Vincent, Pam.

One other thing is that Ombak and Manja, Ismael's dogs, are sooooo adorable. They are big golden retriever dogs but as sweet as ever. They liked me a lot, as most dogs do. But really, they're so big that when they jumped on me to lick on my face, they'd reach my shoulder and I would be pushed a few steps backwards and their claws would leave very red marks on my cleavage and shoulders. Doh!

11:30 we went back home feeling so full and happy.


Saturday, 29 March 2008.

Because of the increasing stress I got from work last week and the lack of sleep the night before, I slept for about 13 hours in total on Saturday. I finally got up at around 3ish when Patricia called and asked me to go out to the Discovery Mall for an ice cream. The day was super hot so I thought ice cream would be GREAT.


She picked me up and off we went to the mall. Pam joined us later on and we went window shopping together. Okay, I mean in the beginning we planned to do window shopping only. But when we saw these discounted cool items everywhere up to 75% at Sogo, Centro and La Senza, we couldn't resist the temptation to buy a few stuffs.

I didn't quite realise what things I bought until I arrived home and checked the plastic bags and..... it appeared that I ONLY BOUGHT THONGS!!!

What was I thinking? :">


The last day of the weekend was spent by painting one other (bigger) wall of my livingroom/kitchen. I chose the colour blue. To the right part of the wall was my yellowish orange wall I painted a few weeks ago.
I only did two layers this time and it already took 2 litres of paint. When it was done (which I still feel rather unsatisfied with because of the uneven colour. I think I have to do the third layer (doh!), I felt quite proud of myself for finally doing that.

Pam called and asked me to go karaoke at Inul Vista that has just been opened at the Discovery Mall. So going to the mall again??? :P That was a little bit too much for Bali standard when you have all the beautiful beaches and nice coffee shops, and instead you spent two days in a row at the MALL!
But I never karaoked in Bali. The other karaoke places are like ++ ones [sex service included] and unless you counted the times where I sang at some restaurants as a karaoke experience, I actually never had a microphone to sing in a private booth like I did in Surabaya or Jakarta.

It was ridiculously expensive, though. Rp 60,000 an hour for the smallest room! We had fun, nevertheless. Especially when singing CRAZY from Aerosmith. It felt SO GOOD to yell and shout and jump up and down during the song!
We even did the cheesy Step by Step of New Kids on the Block of the 80s and got a score of 98 out of our so many mistakes!!! :D

One thing why I hate malls is that it is hard not to buy anything. I am not a shoppaholic. But I was so interested in buying a lot of stuff last weekend. On Sunday alone I bought a long carpet that I'd put in front of the TV, a bright red tape for fixing my sink pipe (and I did this morning, with no help of plumber!) and 6 DVDs, which Pam complained to be so unfair because I could borrow all her DVDs but she was not very much interested in borrowing mine. Out of those 6, I had 4 of cartoons (and one of them is the latest Barbie movie release, which she despised. haha). Oh well, so what? I love cartoons and animations. :P

But I think I should punish myself for shopping too much last weekend. I won't go out for meals this week. I have to cook everyday (it's saving much money)!

As much as I thought it was unwise to shop a lot, I still agreed on my thongs! :D
Being single means being prone to get matchmade.

Despite his rather extreme emotional personality, Fabio has a quite remarkable sense of humour. He seems to believe that he has to be a matchmaker for the single people he has around him.

One day when I was still in my first months working for him, he had got a computer technician over to get his new computer installed in the office. Sometime later, one of Panorama's housekeeping staff came to clean the office. He tried to matchmake these young people with his super broken Bahasa Indonesia. That had no significant result.


Another day, a photographer friend of his came over to stay overnight at his property. They worked together in the making of the book "Makassar." Before this guy even arrived, he was busy promoting him to me,

"You should really marry this guy, Carla. He's very, very talented and has got a golden heart!"

"Is he young, rich and handsome?" I asked.

"Yes. Yes. No. He's still 30 something, so young yes. Rich yes, he's a very successful photographer. You can see a lot of his works in National Geographic. Unfortunately the mother nature is not very kind concerning his look."

"But he's a good candidate, I assure you," added he.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks, but no, thanks. I can find my own partner."


Recently he did it again. He was eating his snack (homemade bread with salad topping and tuna spread) and he complimented on the delicacy of the bread that Inga/Sulastri baked. He told me that I should get the same bread machine like the one they'd got at my place and make my own healthy bread.

"Yeah, that's the problem. That invention must have been expensive," I told him.

"Don't worry. When you get married later, I will get you that as your wedding present. I buy that to all my friends that get married," Fabio answered.

"Haha, very funny. And that will be 3 to 5 years from now? If I'm that lucky, that is."

"OH!!! Talking about that!," he exclaimed, "I met this really, really great guy last weekend at a party. He will make a good husband for you!"

He then told me the good qualities he had, how he liked him in an instant and how it was unusual because he didn't like that many people. Inga also liked him.

Me and my standard question: "Is he young, rich and handsome?"

"Yes! To all those questions!"

He had this idea in mind that he would invite him to the office so that I could meet him.
Jokingly I told him, "Well, let me know in advance if you invite him here. I'll make sure I'll dress nicely."

For once in his so frequent attempts to matchmake people, I gave a nod to see how it would be going.
mood: buzzzzzy!
listening to: the interview with Sarah Sanyahumbi


I can't seem to relax in the evenings these days. There is always something going on outside that I feel necessary to get my butt off the bed, grab my camera and take pictures of the various events that are happening!

Do I sound like complaining?

Well I am not. :D

Right, so yesterday I went out of the office at exactly 5:30 to do some photo hunting for Melasti. This is a ceremony held by the Hindu people two days before Nyepi holiday (Silence Day), which would occur on the 7th of March. Since I myself will be escaping Bali on that day to Kuta Lombok -- because just like what the name implies, everyone has to be silent and not make any noises on that day; no fire (electricity, which means we will be in the dark once the sun sets); and no activities/works being done. If you break this cultural rule, the pecalang will get you a cultural sanction - I don't know what it is, but any sanctions will not be nice, will it? SO that's why I'm going to escape that day and have a long weekend in Kuta Lombok. As many of my friends, latest one was Rocky, have promoted its sheer beauty and all.

I can live without lights, but I can't live without sounds. :P

That means I will surely miss the Ogoh-Ogoh festival, which will be held the night before Nyepi. My friends, including Pam and Carol, are looking forward to it. They say it's a big festival that happens only once a year. And honestly I would like to see it, too. But I really can't bear to be in Bali the next day, really.
That gave me a reason to no way miss this Melasti ceremony.

Although I did almost miss it.

I went to 66 beach, as Carol wanted it, to finally be there and wait for about half an hour and get a text message from her that she didn't feel like going (doh! these Indonesian promises are really not to be accounted for!), and nothing was going on! I was like... where is the famous ceremony they have been telling me about?

After a while I decided to go back to my boarding house, find my landlord and ask him where it should take place. He told me it was in Kuta beach in front of the Hard Rock Hotel. I threw away my lunch box and notebook and sped my bike to THAT beach (which is actually nearer from my place than 66).

On the way there I saw a lot of people walking back from the beach on Poppies I lane and my heart sank and it was full of these negative thoughts that I'd already missed it. But, no! Luckily.

Arriving at the beach there were sooooooo many people in whites (like hundreds of them, and these come from only Kuta!). I was amazed....

I saw them throw an alive swan into the sea as a symbol of offering to the gods. Some visitors were screaming surprised and felt a pity for the poor animal to be thrown back and forth a few times. It didn't die of course, for it always swam back to the shore. But still, to see that with your own eyes...
Some gamelan music was played in the background and some people were praying, some others were burning incense.

After that a woman in a white kebaya came forward, put her offering by the shore, and broke an egg onto the basket. I was told that it was a symbol that the ceremony was over (see??? I was late!) and that it was time for them to walk on the parade.

Then I saw these really, really cute girls with thick makeup ala Balinese in yellow-dominated Balinese traditional kebaya. Later on in my boarding house, my landlord's son told me that earlier on (before I got there) the girls were performing a sacred, ritual dance called Rejang dance. *grumbles again*

Anyway, not long after that, the people were moving to the outer direction of Kuta beach (Jalan Pantai Kuta's gate, near The Wave club) and marching towards the Hindu temple near Kuta traditional market. These are the pictures I took of the parade, or what the Balinese called "Pepedan":

Info: The people here were holding a looooong white sheet, which was a symbol of the way to the throne of the gods. That is to say that the people support the gods.

The gamelan guys. Look at the very left one. Doesn't he look sweet? Lately I developed an opinion that Balinese men are not too bad to look at. But got a completely different opinion for the women, though. At least generally..

That's it. Not as many pictures as I took in Ngaben ceremony last weekend, but better than nothing. And I certainly "disturbed" a hell lot of people (again) to explain me about all the things I was curious about. Why they were doing this and that and all. Like this one last fact that Melasti is held before Nyepi because on Nyepi itself the Hindus can't really do the proper praying for they have to sort of meditate and get closer to the gods in a silent way. Some of them, especially the priests, fast like the Moslems do on Ramadhan. But it is not an obligatory thing to do.

Isn't this a beautiful culture? I feel so lucky to be here, live here, and to witness all these different things where in Java, for example, you will never get a second thought of what Nyepi really is.
mood: super tired
listening to: Morcheeba
watching: The Road to Guantanamo


I think I will make a quite good journalist.

One of the neighbours of my landlord died on the 29th of February. She was still young, aged 25, suffered for three years of tumor. Name was Ni Putu Wiwin Mulyatini.

Ayu, the daughter in law of Bu Tunas (my landlady) offered me to go with her to this event and she told me that I should be wearing a piece of Balinese clothing wrapped around my hips.

On the due day, however, I was busy talking to Ella on the phone and I missed her by about 15 minutes [darn it!]. But nevertheless I tried to locate the ceremonial walk, which took place near my boarding house.

I ran when I saw it, but the parade was long. I lost my breath several times but I finally could catch up with them with the cost of injuring my foot with the new sandals I was wearing.

The parade on Jalan Legian.

The music guys with Balinese gamelan.

We arrived at Kuta beach (I couldn't believe they made me walk that far in order to reach this familiar spot of Kuta beach near The Wave!) at around 1:30 and they started cremating the body.

Arriving at Kuta beach.

First, the dead woman was given the last respect from families and friends (they splashed some sprinkle of water and put some sesajen or offering to the coffin). Then she was covered by typical Balinese bright yellow fabric. The head side and the feet side were connected with two LPG gas tube, and.... the fire was lighted.

Don't freak out. This was her, before cremated. Remember that she'd been ill for three years and she had only skin over bones because of the disease she was having.

And this was her when she was healthy. Poor girl. She was beautiful.

Can you see the black round spot inside this thing? It was supposed to be her head.

It took so long for them to cremate the body. Like one or two hours, and it was done with the gas! Not with the traditional wood. I walked around in the mean time, sat down occasionally with some Balinese ladies who were chatting and gossiping cheerfully, asked a lot of question to them regarding to this Ngaben ceremony. And from what I gathered, the ceremony I attended was of the middle-class family. So it was not too big, it was not too small. This medium level of Ngaben would cost around Rp 30 Million (3,000 euro). I was bewildered.
"You must be kidding me?" I said. "I would have used that amount of money for my wedding."
She said, "Well this is only a funeral. Balinese weddings would cost around Rp 80 to 100 Million."
I was rather shocked, I must say.

I met a Frenchman who was busy taking pictures and talking to people with his (both) broken Indonesian and English. Apparently that was his 7th Ngaben ceremony and he said that it was the best Ngaben he'd ever seen. I asked him why. He told me because the previous Ngabens were conducted by poorer families. And this one seemed to have more money. More question from my side: what made this one different?
"Well, you know, the colours and quality of clothing the people are wearing; the priests, there are two priests here that's amazing! And the way they did the cremation. This is just awesome."

I guess I was lucky then. Only in my first 6 months in Bali I'd already seen a very beautiful Ngaben ceremony. Even Fabio and Inga had never seen it. And they have lived here for 3 years.

After a long, waiting period of the cremation process, the people gathered again to collect the rest unburnt bones of the woman, put them in the bright yellow piece of fabric, folded it and decorated it beautifully.

The people decorating the ash and bones.

A priest on a small stage was praying for the spirit of the woman, purifying it.

Another priest at the beach to prepare her spirit before spreading the ash and bones to the sea.

I stumbled across the other priest who was left alone on the other side of the beach nearby, accompanied by only four women around him. I asked the women a lot of questions and they answered very descriptively. When the priest finished praying, he joined the conversation and explained to me that the two priests there had different roles. The one on the stage was to purify the spirit of the dead woman. He himself was to prepare her spirit to be given to the sea.

Which would happen in a short while.

When the priest on the stage finished praying, suddenly a flock of people came towards us and sat down near (behind) the priest I was talking to. Then this priest in the white robes started to lead the ceremony to prepare the spirit to travel to the sea.

They then stood up (especially the men), took the beautifully decorated thing with the remaining ash and bones of the dead woman, swam to the rather deep part of the sea (of course I didn't go with them!) and every time the big wave came, they would jump up over the wave and threw part by part of the ash and bones.

They then went back to the shore. Their faces happy and smiling. Their byed one another and went to their own homes.

In some traditional tribes in Indonesia, indeed, a funeral is not a thing to cry for. But it is to celebrate for. :)