Thursday, February 25, 2010

#802 - American Idol 9 Top 24


Well, one year has been quick!! Now, another season of American Idol has started. The exciting part has started right now, the top 24 (semifinal) onwards. Anyway, finally my favorite format for the semifinal is back: top 24 contestants consisting of 12 girls and 12 guys, divided into two groups by gender where each week for three weeks, the bottom two of each group will be eliminated, leaving the final top 12 in the end. It is a MUCH better system than the system they used last year. Well, I hate that system because I don't think it's fair.

Anyway, watching this season's audition and Hollywood week, female contestants seemed to have the potency to dominate the season, rather than all male contestants. Many female contestants were really strong during their audition and Hollywood Week. However, unfortunately, ALL female contestants were disappointing this week in their first performance. NONE of them stood up. Sure, still there were several potential contestants, but they were not that strong this week, sadly. In other hands, some male contestants performed really well and exceeded my expectation!! Watching this week's show, I have several potential favorite contestants. Yeah, they are still "potential" and further performances are needed to finalize my votes. They are:

1. Paige Miles
2. Crystal Bowersox
3. Didi Benami
4. Katelyn Epperson
5. Lilly Scott
6. Siobhan Magnus (but I don't really like her attitude tho, she's kinda too "stiff", hmmm)

1. Casey James
2. Aaron Kelly
3. Lee DeWyze
4. Alex Lambert (well, he didn't perform that well this week because of his nerves, but he has a really unique voice!! He has a great potency to do well in the competition)

Well, I have several weakest contestants this week:

10. Ashley Rodriguez
10. Lacey Brown
12. Haeley Vaughn

9. John Park
10. Jermaine Sellers
11. Todrick Hall
12. Tim Urban

For the women, I think Ashley Rodriguez and Haeley Vaughn should be eliminated this week. Well, I think the probability that Ashley will go is a lot bigger than Haeley tho. This is because I think Haeley is actually quite unique in term of the way she sings. It's just that she didn't pick the right song for her style this week. But we will see tho. For the men, Todrick Hall and Tim Urban should go. Todrick changed Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" too much, murdering the song. I like the original version much better. For Tim, well, I think he struggled. He picked the wrong song, "Apologize", which needed a lot of falsetto while his falsetto technique was still not that great. It was kinda torturing, hmmm....

::: American Idol 9 Top 24

note : photo taken from


Wah, setahun cepat juga yah!! Sekarang, musim terbaru dari American Idol sudah mulai lagi nih. Bagian yang asik sudah mulai juga, top 24 (semifinal) dst. Ngomong2, akhirnya format semifinal favoritku kembali lagi: 24 besar kontestan yang terdiri atas 12 cowo dan 12 cewe, dibagi ke dua grup berdasarkan jenis kelamin dimana setiap minggu selama tiga minggu, dua terbawah dari masing2 grup akan tereliminasi sehingga menyisakan 12 besar akhirnya. Sistem ini JAUH lebih baik daripada sistem yang dipake tahun lalu nih. Yah, aku benci sistem itu deh karena ga gitu adil dah.

Ngomong2, nonton audisi dan minggu Hollywood musim ini, kontestan perempuan kayanya akan mendominasi musim ini, daripada kontestan cowo. Banyak tuh kontestan perempuan yang sangat kuat sepanjang audisi dan mingu Hollywood-nya. Namun, sayang sekali, SEMUA kontestan perempuan mengecewakan deh minggu ini. NGGAK ADA yang bener2 bagus. Tentu, memang ada sih beberapa yang terlihat berpotensi bagus, namun masih nggak sekuat itu minggu ini, sayang sekali. Di sisi lain, kontestan cowo justru ada beberapa yang melebihi ekspektasiku minggu ini!! Nonton show minggu ini, aku ada beberapa kontestan potensial untuk menjadi favorit nih. Yeah, mereka masih "potensial" dan penampilan lebih lanjut masih perlu dilihat. Mereka adalah:

1. Paige Miles
2. Crystal Bowersox
3. Didi Benami
4. Katelyn Epperson
5. Lilly Scott
6. Siobhan Magnus (tapi aku ga gitu suka sikapnya tuh, agak-agak "kaku", hmmm)

1. Casey James
2. Aaron Kelly
3. Lee DeWyze
4. Alex Lambert (yah, benar bahwa dia tidak tampil maksimal minggu ini karena grogi banget (keliatan banget), cuma suaranya dia khas banget lho! Jadi dia sebenernya memiliki potensi untuk berprestasi baik di kompetisi ini).

Aku juga memiliki daftar tentang beberapa kontestan yang lemah minggu ini:

10. Ashley Rodriguez
10. Lacey Brown
12. Haeley Vaughn

9. John Park
10. Jermaine Sellers
11. Todrick Hall
12. Tim Urban

Untuk yang perempuan, kayanya Ashley Rodriguez dan Haeley Vaughn yang seharusnya keluar minggu ini. Yah, aku rasa Ashley berpeluang lebih besar untuk tereliminasi minggu ini daripada Haeley. Ini karena Haeley sebenarnya cukup unik juga dalam hal cara bernyanyi. Sayangnya, dia tidak memilih lagu yang tepat dengan gayanya itu minggu ini. Tapi akan kita lihat deh. Untuk yang cowo, Todrick Hall dan Tim Urban seharusnya tereliminasi minggu ini. Todrick mengganti lagunya Kelly Clarkson yang "Since U Been Gone" dengan agak berlebihan, justru menghancurkan lagu itu. Aku jauh lebih suka versi originalnya. Untuk Tim, yah, kayanya dia bener2 kesulitan deh. Dia memilih lagu yang salah, "Apologize", yang membutuhkan banyak falsetto sementara teknik falsettonya masih sangat lemah. Agak menyiksa juga, hmmm...

Monday, February 22, 2010

#801 - First 2010 Vacation : Bali (Part III)

Previously on First 2010 Vacation : Bali : Zilko and his friends went to Bali. Now they had arrived at the far northern part of Bali, at Lovina Beach, to do dolphin-watching.

Day 4 (Monday, 18 January 2010)

We had an early morning to start. The day before, we were told to be ready early at 6 AM since it would be our departure time. The boat captain would pick us up at 6 AM, they told us. We had been ready at about 5.45 AM but until 6 AM, no boat captain nor anyone else came by to pick us up. My friends and I then walked to the receptionist to ask about it. Well then, they asked us to go directly to the pier (well, it was not really a pier tho since there was no pier, just boats being docked on the beach, LOL). We were split into two boats. One smaller boat handled three people (plus one boat captain) and the bigger one handled five people (plus one boat captain). Btw, the boat captains didn't look like boat captain actually, they were more like fishermen, LOL. Anyway, I was in the bigger boat.

::: A Dolphin Watching Trip

Then we took off to the open sea. Well, the info about big waves we got the day before was TRUE!! The waves were really huge. It was kinda scary, really, as it was MUCH scarier than the trip I took almost four years ago. Probably because January was in the middle of raining season in Indonesia, while four years ago I went there on May, which was during the dry season. Well, the other boat actually took off earlier, so they were way in front of my boat. From far away, it seemed that they had a much smoother trip to the open sea than us. It was like we were shaken by infinitely massive waves while they sailed smoothly. We envied them! LOL. However, when we finally met in the open sea at the dolphin area, apparently they had a similar fate with us. They also encountered big waves and even worse, because they were on a smaller boat, more water poured into the boat!! hahaha... . Could it be a paralax effect?

Anyway, yes, we could watch the dolphins. It was stunning and beautiful!! There were three dolphins jumping together! Well, unfortunately I couldn't take pictures of them. The timing was so quick and predicting where dolphin(s) would jump in the open sea was kinda difficult. However, I think the dolphins were not as many as three and a half years ago tho. Was it because of raining season or simply the number of dolphin population had dropped significantly? I dunno. After being satisfied doing dolphin-watching, we decided to go back to our hotel. Well, our trip back to the beach was not as scary as our departure trip as it was much smoother. Probably because we were "riding" the waves on our way back while we had to "go against" the waves on our departure trip, maybe? Even so, after we landed, two of my friends were sick, haha.

::: Super Spicy "Be Sere Limo" and "Plecing Kangkung". They were WAY to spicy for me so that I couldn't finish eating them!!

We then had breakfast at our hotel. Not satisfied (and full) enough with our breakfast, three friends and I went to a cafe down the road for a more "appropriate" breakfast. We had "Be Sere Limo" and "Plecing Kangkung". I asked the restaurant to make a NOT-spicy Be Sere Limo because I hate spicy food. However, when they served the menus, they were SUPER spicy!! Well, if that was not spicy for them, I couldn't imagine what SPICY was in their mind!! hahaha... . Actually we had a plan to be picked up at 10.30 AM to go back to Kuta Beach, making stops at Git-Git Waterfall and Tanah Lot with one lunch stop at Bedugul. However, looking at the current condition of ourselves (tired, sleep-deprived, some of us were sick), we decided to postpone it to 12 PM and dropped Git-Git Waterfall from our list.

At 12 PM, we checked out and continued our trip, this time, we headed back to south. We made a stop at Bedugul, having lunch at the same stall as the day before. This time, they made enough rice for all of us, hahaha. We then took off immediately after lunch to go to Tanah Lot.

::: Tanah Lot. I think this was the best place in Tanah Lot to take pictures.

About 90 minutes later, we arrived at Tanah Lot. It was still around 2 or 3 PM at that time so it was kinda hot. Tanah Lot was so beautiful!! It was really photogenic!! Well, there we met some Japanese (?) (I guess) tourists who could barely speak English. They were standing right in the middle of good spots for taking pictures, doing nothing, just chit-chatting with each other. Hello?? It was a public place, you should be aware that many other people wanted to be standing there in your place to get pictures, right?? They could do chit-chatting somewhere else where no other tourist would be annoyed. To "speak" with them, I used body language, lucky the understood and stepped away from those places, hehe :-) Anyway, there was a beautiful and photogenic place from top of a small cliff to the west of the Tanah Lot temple. It was located in the tip of the cliff so it was kinda scary, but it was roomy enough for eight people I think, so don't worry :-)

::: Discovery Shopping Mall at Kuta, Bali. It hadn't changed that much since I went there almost four years ago.

::: Kuta Square At Night

We then left Tanah Lot and went to Kuta Beach. We would spend the last three nights in Bali staying at Tune Hotels again, this time in Kuta. Well, personally, I think the Kuta Tune Hotel was way better than Legian Tune Hotel in term of location. It was much friendlier for cars, hahaha. After taking rest for about one hour, we decided to take a walk around Kuta Beach. We went to Discovery Mall and had dinner there. Well, Discovery Mall had changed since the last time I visited it almost four years ago (of course! haha). After taking some walk and got tired, we went back to our hotel.

Day 5 (Tuesday, 19 January 2010)

One of my friend's friend went to Bali before us and she recommended us to visit Bali Safari, a safari park in Bali. She said it was so beautiful! Well, because I had never been there and my other friends agreed, Bali Safari was our destination this day. Before getting there, we made a stop at Sukawati Market as some friends wanted to go shopping. Well, I don't really like shopping plus I didn't think the items they sold in Sukawati were "usable", at least for me. That's why I preferred to buy boiled peanuts, waited in the car and had a chat with our driver. One hour later, they finished shopping and we continued our journey.

::: A Zebra At Bali Safari. I like this picture :-)

Well, the entrance fee to Bali Safari was definitely over budget. The information we got said that it was Rp 85,000.- per pax. So, that was the amount of money per pax we budgeted. But then, apparently, it was Rp 110,000.- per pax!! Lucky we still had some extra cash to cover the extra! Anyway, Bali Safari was beautiful. It was definitely more beautiful and better than Bogor Safari Park. However, I still don't think Rp 110,000.- per pax worth it!! With that amount of money, I preferred to go to Waterbom Bali, just adding some ten of thousand but we could get one day full access to the Waterbom! Well, the most cozy place in Bali Safari was inside the tour bus. It was equipped with A/C while it was definitely super hot and humid outside. At that time I didn't want the tour on the bus to end, LOL.

::: Jimbaran Beach Before Sunset.

::: Our Seafood Courses at Jimbaran Beach.

After leaving Bali Safari at around 3 PM, we headed south to Jimbaran Beach. We made two stops at Denpasar to have lunch first and to buy Titiles (I love its ham!! :D). Well, the Denpasar - Kuta road was definitely crowded. It took us about one hour to get free from the traffic jam! hahaha. Finally, at around 5 PM we arrived at Jimbaran Beach. There I treated my friends for my graduation. Of course, the menu was seafood and we didn't expect super tasty food as in Jimbaran, we are actually buying its atmosphere. Lucky enough, we got a sunset there! Sure it was a bit cloudy but the cloud didn't cover the sun. God Bless Us!! We asked the food to be served around 6 PM so that we didn't get to have meal too close to our lunch at 3 PM, LOL. After dinner and taking some pictures using sunset as our background and objects, we left Jimbaran and got back to Kuta.

::: A Sunset At Jimbaran Beach. We were so lucky to get this one!

to be continued ...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

#800 - Eight Hundred


Before continuing writing about my vacation to Bali last month (I know, it is getting more and more out of date each time I postpone writing it but hey, one more post couldn't hurt more, LOL), I think I will write something first because this is a special entry, entry number 800!! Well, apparently, all this time, I have written 800 entries (including this one!! Hmmm!!). It hit 700 this time, about 10 months ago!! Well, it means that in average there have only been 10 entries per month!! Well, I know these past few several months I haven't been blogging that active. I really hope I will write more frequently since I like blogging, it marks every path of your life!! :-)

Anyway, nothing much happened lately. Therefore, I think I will upload some pictures which I haven't had time to upload them before. Some of the photos were actually taken last month, LOL.

Oh, I just remember that actually there is a topic I want to share. However, due to its privacy level, it is more suitable to be posted in my private blog. The problem is that my private blog has kinda been stranded for a loooong time, haha... . Let me prepare it first :-)

::: Finally I had meal at a Sushi Bar with a Sushi Conveyor Belt (LOL). I had always wanted to have meal there ever since I read this kind of sushi bar in Japanese manga. Actually I don't really like sushi, but at least now I have the experience of eating at a sushi bar, LOL.

::: Tahu Gejrot and Jangkung's Grilled Rib.

::: One spot at Yogyakarta Tugu Railway Station.

::: A rice field with bad weather as its background. Well, several hours later, it was raining super hard causing flood. Plus, the water also leaked into my couch!!

::: Inside Argo Wilis Express.

::: Bebek Kremes (crunchy duck) I had last Friday.


Sebelum melanjutkan tulisan mengenai liburanku ke Bali bulan lalu (iya iya, tau koq, kan ceritanya akan semakin basi setiap kali aku menunda menulis tapi yah, satu posting lagi deh, LOL), aku rasa aku akan menulis sesuatu dulu karena ini posting penting nih, posting nomor 800!! Yah, ternyata, selama ini aku sudah menulis 800 posting loh (termasuk yang satu ini!! Hmmm!!). Posting mencapai nomor 700 pada waktu ini, sekitar 10 bulan yang lalu!! Hmm, itu berarti rata-rata aku menulis sekitar 10 posting setiap bulan!! yah, aku tahu sedikit beberapa bulan terakhir ini aku jarang nulis di blog. Aku harap sih aku akan lebih sering menulis lagi deh karena aku suka blogging, hal ini memetakan perjalanan hidup!! :-)

Ngomong2, nggak banyak sih yang terjadi belakangan ini. Makanya, aku akan mengunggah beberapa gambar aja deh yang belum sempat diunggah sebelumnya. Beberapa malah sebenarnya diambil bulan lalu lho, LOL

O ya, sebenarnya ada satu bahan yang menarik nih. Cuma berdasar tingkat privasinya, lebih layak ditulis di blog privat nih. Cuma masalahnya blog yang satu itu sudah terlantar sekian lama, haha... . Nanti deh aku persiapkan dulu :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

#799 - The Amazing Race 16

note: this entry will only be written in English because I am not in the mood of writing bilingual :-)

Earlier this week, the newest season of one of my most favorite TV shows, The Amazing Race 16 was premiered. I, of course, didn't miss it. Even though I missed the premiere at AXN because I was in Jogja, I caught up with its first rerun. O yea, speaking of missing one episode, I just realized that I apparently missed one episode of Heroes Season 4 last week!! Arrrgggghhhh..... . Anyway, well, this month is really joyful as it's filled with so many interesting tv shows being premiered.

Well, back to topic. This season of The Amazing Race consisted of 11 teams. However, just purely based on this season's premiere, I think the casts were not as strong as season 15's casts. It doesn't mean that no contestant attracts my attention yet, it's just that during season 15's premiere, I managed to get 3 favorite teams and 2 potential favorite teams, while this season, I only had a handful favorite teams and few potential favorite teams. Well, it might be because season 15's premiere was a two hour premiere covering the first two legs. Plus, there was an unnecessary (IMHO) twist there. Tho it was infamous but still, somehow it's memorable (and it's a good thing that stupid twist wasn't applied in season 16). My thought about season 15's premiere can be read here.

::: all teams of TAR season 16.

Anyway, in the first leg, all teams went to Chile, South America. The tasks were actually pretty interesting and kinda challenging. However, somehow, the episode turned to be just okay for me. It was not boring at all, but it wasn't great nor exciting either. Maybe this is because there wasn't any major conflict, yet, between the teams. So, we will see...

About the first episode, I am kinda curious about Jet and Cord, the cowboy brothers, who exchanged their dollars with Brazilian money after acknowledging they were about to go to Chile!! Well, it's true that geographically, Chile is close to Brazil. However, I think it's more logical to exchange their money to Chilean money, when they don't know the local currency of Chile, right? I mean, I think they should have asked for Chilean money in the money exchange rather than Brazilian money. Anyway, this might have been edited tho, to make the cowboys look "dumb". Even so, if the money exchange didn't have Chilean money, then why did they bother to exchange their money to Brazilian anyway? I wouldn't have done that...

Anyway, let's talk about my favorite teams. So far, only two teams have grabbed my attention:

1. Jordan and Jeff (newly dating)

Well, apparently, these two were also the cast of one season of another American reality show, The Big Brother. Jordan even won that season. That's why I guess we can assume that they know how to play reality show. Hopefully they can bring those knowledge in TAR, making this season interesting! Well, somehow they kinda had proven it by winning the first leg.

::: Jordan and Jeff

Anyway, Jordan kinda "tickled" me by saying "China" instead of "Chile" in the airport. Well, lucky it was in LAX, the starting point, so the ticket officer knew exactly where they were heading. Had the ticket officer not known the real destination, it would have been "funny" (sarcastic mode on :D) to see them flying to China while their actual destination is Chile, in the other part of the world, hahaha....

2. Monique and Shawne (Moms/Attorneys)

::: Monique and Shawne

Well, I dunno, I think I just like this team. Perhaps I like the energy they brought to the race as they seemed to be cheerful and enjoying every moment. We will see....

Well, the only two teams, as for now, I consider as potential favorite teams are

3. Jet and Cord (Brothers/Cowboys)

::: Jet and Cord

I think they are unique. Even though I totally hate their decision to exchange their dollars to Brazilian money, I think they can be interesting to watch, we will see...

4. Carol and Brandy (Dating)

::: Carol and Brandy

Well, I think they can be the "sneaky" team this season and I like sneaky team. Hopefully the can be strategic to help them overcome all the challenges.

Actually, team Brent and Caite is a wildcard for me. They can be favorite but also hated team, hahaha. I just don't like Brent's expression during the race based on leg 1. I think his face was, well I dunno whether this word can fully describe what I mean or not but let's hope it's close enough LOL, inexpressive or kinda "plain". With that face, I think people who watched him would like to punch him in the face, hahaha. Just Kidding :-) But yeah, I think he needs to be much more expressive.

::: Caite and Brent

Anyway, a new season has started. Let's hope it's gonnabe another interesting and exciting season of TAR.

note: all pictures are taken from the official website. Link above

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

#798 - Jogja Summary


Well, this weekend, I went back to my hometown, Yogyakarta. I could make this trip because I am no longer tied with class schedule this semester, since I have graduated. I only have two classes to teach, which are on Wednesday and Thursday. So, the fact that the national holiday fell on Sunday didn't get in my way going home, haha... .

As usual, holiday always passes really fast, especially this holiday where I only get back home for about 5 days!! This Tuesday, I am going back to Bandung catching Argo Wilis Express. Hmm, now that I am writing about getting back to Bandung, I just knew today that apparently Jogja - Bandung vv flight is gonnabe resumed!! Well, that's a good news. If Merpati acted as the operator last time, this time, Wings Air will act as one. However, different with Merpati who operated jet Boeing 737-200adv on this route, Wings Air will operate props ATR 72-500. Well, I always loved Merpati's Jogja - Bandung vv route because they offered competitive price and operated a jet aircraft!! Well, I have never caught a flight with propeller aircraft tho, so it's kinda exciting for me. However, some said that catching propeller aircraft is relatively more heartbeating than jet aircraft, because they are smaller. Anyway, this time, I just checked Wings Air's website, they offered Rp 471,000.- as their promo price, hmmm... . We will see how it goes.

Well, back to main topic. I spent the last four days in Jogja with fun (of course). I hanged out with my friend, I also had a supper last Saturday, since Sunday was a Chinese New Year. Mostly, it has been a typical holiday. I think these pictures pretty much sum up my newest holiday.

::: Wings Air's ATR 72-500

::: Merpati's Boeing 737-200adv reg code PK-MDD. I actually got on board this plane to go to Bandung 2.5 years ago.

::: Inside Turangga Express

::: Beef Soto I had with my friend last Saturday.

::: Soto Sawah I had with my friend last Saturday.

::: Soto Kridosono as my breakfast last Sunday.

::: Some Indian Cuisine I had last Sunday with my parents. Well, the spices were really strong, so Indian!!

::: Chicken Cordon Bleu I had last Monday with my friend.

::: New Menu at Pizza Hut.

note: Wings Air's picture was taken from


Wiken terakhir ini, aku pulang ke kota asalku, Yogyakarta, loh. Aku bisa pulang karena aku tidak lagi terikat jadwal kuliah semester ini, kan udah lulus. Aku cuma ada dua kelas untuk diajar, yang mana kelasnya itu di hari Rabu dan Kamis. Makanya kondisi bahwa hari libur nasional jatuh di hari Minggu tidak mengganggu jadwal pulangku, haha... .

Seperti biasa, liburan itu selalu cepat berlalu, apalagi liburan kaya gini nih yang cuma berlangsung sekitar 5 hari!! Selasa ini, aku akan balik ke Bandung naik Argo Wilis. Oya, karena udah ngomongin tentang perjalanan balik ke Bandung nih, aku baru saja tahu kalau ternyata penerbangan Jogja - Bandung pp akan dibuka kembali loh!! Yah, berita bagus tuh. Jika Merpati berperan sebagai operator terakhir kali lalu, kali ini, Wings Air yang mengambil-alih. Yah, berbeda nih dengan Merpati yang mengoperasikan pesawat jet tipe Boeing 737-200adv di rute ini kali lalu, kali ini Wings Air akan mengoperasikan pesawat baling-baling tipe ATR 72-500. Yah, aku suka sekali sama rute Merpati yang Jogja - Bandung pp karena mereka menawarkan harga yang kompetitif dan mengoperasikan pesawat jet!! Yah, aku sih belum pernah naik pesawat yang baling-baling, makanya agak menarik juga buat aku. Cuma saja katanya naik pesawat baling-baling itu relatif lebih bikin deg-degan daripada yang jet, karena mereka lebih kecil. Ngomong2, kali ini, aku baru saja ngecek web-nya Wings Air, mereka menawarkan harga Rp 471.000,.- nih di harga promo, hmmm... . Kita akan lihat deh.

Yah, balik saja ke topik utama. Aku menghabiskan empat hari belakangan ini di Jogja dengan kesenangan (tentu saja). Aku jalan2 dengan teman, aku juga ada acara makan malam bersama Sabtu kemarin, karena Minggunya kan Imlek tuh. Yah, pokoknya ya seperti liburan2 gitu lah. Mungkin gambar-gambar di atas cukup merepresentasikan liburanku.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

#797 - Finally


Well, I think I will post an intermezzo before continuing the story of my vacation to Bali last January :-)

Last Friday, I, along with some other friends who will graduate by the end of this month, had to attend an assembly held by our faculty. The agenda was to inaugurate us to be graduates (and therefore, alumna) of our faculty. Yeah, now officially I am a graduate, even though I am still not allowed to use the title behind my name until the actual graduation, by the end of this month.


Yah, rasanya aku akan menulis selingan dulu deh sebelum melanjutkan cerita liburanku ke Bali Januari lalu :-)

Jumat kemarin ini, aku, bersama beberapa teman yang akan diwisuda akhir Februari ini, harus menghadiri semacam sidang yang diadakan oleh fakultas. Isi sidang adalah untuk meresmikan kami menjadi lulusan (dan artinya juga, alumni) dari fakultas kami. Yeah, sekarang resmi sudah diriku menjadi alumni, walau aku masih belum diperkenankan menggunakan gelar di belakang namaku hingga wisuda akhir bulan nanti.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

#796 - First 2010 Vacation : Bali (Part II)

note : to be consistent with the previous chapter of this story, I will only write this entry in English.

Previously on First 2010 Vacation : Bali : Zilko and his friends went to Bali last January for a vacation. On day one, they explored the southern part of Bali. They went back to their hotel with satisfied feeling.

Day 2 (Saturday, 16 January 2010)

Originally we had a plan to watch a Barong Dance as our first activity that day, but then we decided to drop it out because we wanted to save more money. I mean, yeah, it was still like a week ahead, so saving money could be wise :-) Pak Gede picked us up at 8.30 AM.

We then directly headed to our first destination: Ubud. On the way, as we passed the eastern part of Denpasar City - hmmm, I am still not sure tho whether it was part of Denpasar City or not, but it was in the east part of the island :D - we decided to stop by at Sanur Beach since to reach the beach we only needed to make a right turn, and tadaa, there we were. Well, the beach kinda reminded me of Ancol Beach in Jakarta, tho it was relatively cleaner a bit. Well, we didn't spend that much time there and we continued our trip.

On the way to Ubud, Pak Gede asked us whether we wanted to make a stop at Monkey Forest or not. Well, we thought: "We are here, so why not?". So, we made a stop at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, not far from Ubud. Well, I don't really remember how much we should pay, but I am sure it was not the most expensive entrance fee we gotta pay, hahaha. Anyway, Monkey Forest was literally a forest, with monkeys (for sure, you don't have to be that genius to know that, LOL). The monkeys were relatively tame, at least they didn't try to steal our belongings, like cameras, glasses, etc just like other monkeys in other well-known sanctuary(ies) in Bali were rumored as. The place was beautiful, as there was a small temple down there. It's just that I think, the place was kinda small. I mean, with that entrance fee, we expected to enter a bigger monkey forest, haha... .

::: Monkeys at The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ubud.

We then left Monkey Forest and went to downtown Ubud. Pak Gede parked his car, and our first agenda was "lunch". It was 11.30 AM. Well, we found it a bit hard to find a restaurant or a warung which looked "wallet-friendly" in Ubud. Sure, there were several restaurants, but they offered "luxurious" price, haha... . Finally, we found a chinese food restaurant which looked "wallet-friendly". Well, the restaurant was kinda dark and no other customer was in there, so it was a bit a not-so-convincing first impression. Well, they offered normal price for chinese food and we ordered our meals. Several minutes later, when our orders came, apparently, the portion of those foods we ordered was HUGE!! I was like "What?? We should have ordered as a group had we known this". Well, okay, we had already ordered and we must eat them all. I was kinda starving tho at that moment so it wasn't really a big problem actually, LOL. Anyway, after lunch, we had several minutes to spend in Ubud. Well, I had no interest in entering the art market tho, that's why I decided to walk back to our car while my friends stopped at the art market. However, on the way, I saw a "Buy One Get One" promo from a well-known brand store. I decided to take a look at them, since I still had several minutes to kill anyway, so it wouldn't hurt to window-shop. However, I ended up with buying two shirts (one was free though because it was a "Buy One Get One" promo), since the price was kinda low for that brand, haha...

Our next destination was Kintamani, a small village on a plateau overlooking Batur Lake and Batur Mount. Some minutes before arriving at Kintamani, our driver asked us to go to a buffet restaurant. Well, this was the last thing I wanted to happen. I knew that drivers had a "conspiracy" with some restaurants, where the restaurants would give them some cash if they brought visitors to the restaurants. As a result, the restaurants charged the customers more, a.k.a, they were expensive restaurants, hahaha... . Well, it was actually all back to us, the visitors, whether we wanted to have meal there or not, right?? Anyway, I asked our driver about the buffet price and it was Rp 80,000.- plus 20% tax, so it was Rp 96,000.-. I had two objections, first of all, it was expensive and way over budget for a meal, second, we just had (huge) lunch at Ubud, so we were full!!! Well, lucky enough we didn't have to buy the buffet package as we could order just drinks instead. Well, the drinks of course were also expensive, but nominally, they were way below Rp 96,000.- per drink, haha. Since we had good drivers, okay, we thought we could take that, to let him get some cash for living while we still didn't need to spend Rp 96,000.- per pax for a buffet lunch ;-).

::: A very beautiful and chilly Kintamani.

Anyway, Kintamani was SO beautiful. The weather was cloudy at that time and adding it up to the chilliness of that place, it felt like we were back in Bandung, haha. Plus, the scenery was awesome. We could see Batur Lake right next to Batur Mount. Well, traditional and secluded village of Trunyan was also visible. There, we especially enjoyed the chilly air, as it was so different with other parts of Bali where usually it was hot and so tropical. After enjoying our time and the atmosphere for about an hour, we left Kintamani.

We had two next destinations, Tampak Siring Palace and Goa Gajah. Well, apparently, for safety reason, now we can't enter the palace in Tampak Siring. Well, it was such a shame tho because I am so anxious in getting to know a presidential palace, haha. Instead, we went to a temple next to the palace, named Tirta Empul Temple. Well, there's nothing much I can say about the temple tho, because temples in Bali are all in the same trait basically. Anyway, the special thing about our visit there is that there was a traditional ceremony held there where people washed themselves in a pond and they believed it would erase their sins. It was actually really nice to witness such a traditional ceremony :-) After getting around, we left Tirta Empul Temple and went to Goa Gajah. Well, again, nothing much to say about it.

::: A traditional purification ceremony. They believed this ritual would erase their sins.

On the way back, we made a stop at Kuta Beach. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and we couldn't see the famous sunset there. That evening, we had a capsa (bridge) league, it was fun and really entertaining :-)

::: Kuta Beach. Yeah, it was dirty because apparently, days before, there was a pretty severe storm, causing all trashes to be dragged to the coastline.

Day 3 (Sunday, 17 January 2010)

Our main destination this day was to reach Lovina Beach by evening. Lovina Beach is located in the northern part of Bali while Legian, our starting point that day, in the southern part of Bali, so yeah, we had a long way to go this day.

After having an expensive breakfast (well, not that I want to show off that I had expensive breakfast, it was so unfortunate that we had to have one :-D) near our hotel, Pak Gede picked us up, and we headed north. Our first stop was Taman Ayun Temple, yeah, another Balinese temple. Nothing much to say about the temple but it had a pretty shady park and it was surrounded by water. Right next, we headed to Bedugul. Our first thing in our to do list was brunch. Strangely, I still vividly remembered the buffet-restaurant incident I had during my previous visit to Bali. To add more strangeness, apparently I still remembered that restaurant!! haha... :-) Well, it also meant that I vividly recalled there was a cheap food stalls right across that restaurant which charged only Rp 5,000.- for a portion of Ayam Betutu (Betutu Chicken), a local delicacy in Bali, several years ago. Because I still remembered the restaurant, of course I could locate those food stalls :-) Unfortunate enough, the Ayam Betutu stall had been closed as I couldn't find any. Instead, we found a Nasi Campur stall, charging Rp 8,000.- for a portion of Nasi Campur. Well, it was well priced so we decided to have brunch there. The Nasi Campur was tasty actually, and it was the tastiest Balinese Nasi Campur I had during this trip to Bali. Anyway, I was lucky at that time because apparently that day they only cooked little amount of rice because of bad weather the previous days. I was lucky to still get some rice, while some of my friends couldn't get it, because of the limited stock, haha. Anyway, after brunch, we went to Ulun Danu Temple, another temple located at the edge of Bratan Lake. Well, I think, it was one of the most photogenic places I visited in Bali. There were so many nice and beautiful spots to shoot.

::: Balinese Nasi Campur and Bakso.

::: Bratan Lake.

::: Ulun Danu Temple at Bedugul. The site was really photogenic and beautiful, plus, the air was so chilly!!

After satisfying ourselves by taking pictures at that temple, we left Bedugul and headed north to Lovina. We took a detour to go to Munduk Waterfall first. I had never visited it before so I was kinda excited. On the way, we dropped by at a post overlooking the beauty of "twin" lakes, Buyan Lake and Tamblingan Lake, located to the north of Bratan Lake. Again, it was so chilly there. Then, we continued our trip to Munduk Waterfall. Apparently, we had to walk down about 500 meter through a narrow path to reach the waterfall. The waterfall was kinda strange because it looked so "straight", as like there was a manmade duck behind it, LOL. Well, our trip back to our parking place was super exhausting as we literally had to climb back that 500 meter narrow path, haha... .

::: Buyan Lake, one of the two twin lakes.

::: Tamblingan Lake, one of the two twin lakes.

::: At Munduk Waterfall

We finally arrived at Lovina Beach at around 4.30 PM and got a bad news, the weather was not really friendly. I was afraid that we wouldn't be able to watch wild dolphins the next morning, as the only main reason why we traveled that far away from Kuta/Legian to Lovina was to watch wild dolphins. Therefore, not being able to watch dolphins was not an option as that would make our trip completely wasteful. Lucky enough, they said we still could watch the dolphins as long as the boat captains thought it was still safe enough, and they warned us that the waves might be "big". Okay, what the heck with waves, I thought, and we made a deal to go dolphin-hunting (NOT literally :-D) the next morning.

::: Lovina Beach, with its dark (black) sand.

After taking a rest for a while, we decided to play around at the beach. Well, Lovina Beach was not as busy nor crowded as Kuta Beach, and the sand was black. Then, we swam at the hotel's pool. That evening, we went out to look for a restaurant to have dinner. We found a chinese and Indonesian food restaurant, which would turn out to be a sucky restaurant. We ordered our food, and not until 1 hour 30 minutes later, the meal wouldn't be served in our tables!! Crazy, right?? Some other customers even decided to leave the restaurants before their orders were served (no wonder). We almost did the same thing, but they said our orders had been cooked and 2 minutes later they served our orders.

We then went back to our hotel and got to bed immediately, as we had a very early morning to start the next day.

to be continued...