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My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

WORLDWIDE | Sunday, 27 March 2011 | Views [296] | Scholarship Entry

The surrounding air has just got thickened to moist. I tiptoed over hundred steps of weathered stairs, drowned in a pandemonium of lush, moss-glittered tree limbs. Eerily crying grey macaques loomed all over the verdant bushes only several inches above my head, awkwardly provoking tourists to stare back at their ferocious eyes. Thundering river carried over future moving beings from the mad distant waterfalls, while anonymously signed and doodled boulders tried to resist it for the sake of the land— in an almost effortless way.

It was all these fathomless noises here that got the length of my spine embraced into feelings of, somehow, longing: as if one forgotten hymn was being subtly sung by some homesick troops, lost forever in marches and wars.


A swarm of local residents halted our van somewhere in Mataram outskirts; mostly females, uniformed in a white threadbare Javanese kebaya with almost cheap, sheeny red lips. They were parading for this one soon-to-be husband and wife placed in each contrary tip, separated by the long haul of celebrating human lines. It was an enchanting spectacle, however; as intrepid little boys banged the moving van’s window for coins while rainbow-laced umbrellas served as vessels for the Gods’ blessings danced all over the cavalcade.

Soon after, prudent and liberating devotion genuinely occupied the air. I jealously believe everyone here would eventually teach themselves to meditation: through the boisterous beats of gendang belek, a human-sized customary leather drum, overlapped with the flamboyant dangdut rhymes; and the deafening cheer upon the wedding procession all the way from one village to another (the whole wedding worth four hours-long walk through highways and hills) they were seemed enigmatically at peace. It was almost like a consecrated pilgrimage: even in the most self-dissolving bedlam, they could still hear themselves chanting their way to the deities.


“I walk four kilometers from home,” one aged yet vigorous woman shouted, as she rested two bridges away from the Tiu Kelep Falls in Northern Lombok. She was all-drenched by the humid atmospheres. Her grandbaby nestled around her back while she was counting various medicinal plantation gathered for the market. She supposed to be seemed delicately weak at her seventy-ninth year, but this sincere architect of her own joy enthusiastically mumbled over just everything. “I shook President Soeharto’s hand once, in Surabaya,” she ambiguously stated.

A rock hollowed out by years of constant stream guarded the Tiu Kelep. It earned its name right: roughly translated to a ‘floating pool’, this 30-meters terraced plunge falls alluringly foamed the riverbed and caused the perpetual drizzle all over the air.

I stopped breathing for a minute— it was like this huge sum of longing I previously burdened myself got washed away. This very shrill sound of thunder finally got me listening to my own self; tranced me after all my contemplations. This solemn island had simply captured life in its accepting phase, along with lessons on celebrating every given thing. And so, I sat down and applauded myself.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

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