Lombok: Between Mosque and Beaches

Last February, I got a second chance to visit Lombok. Just like my first, this time it was mainly for work…with a little bit of traveling in the end 🙂

But, unlike my first time in Lombok where I mainly visited cultural site (read about it here) this time around my friends and I stayed in a hotel closed to the airport. The hotel is called D’Praya Hotel.

We arrived on a Friday, so when my colleague when for their Friday prayer, I got to visit a souvenir place. Its a bit early to buy souvenir since we just arrived. We just ended up walking around.

It was not until the following day that we got a chance to explore Lombok. First, we went to Grand Mosque at Islamic Center in Mataram. It is a large mosque with artistic design.

Lombok is known as The Island of a Thousand Mosque. Here is one of the grand mosque at Islamic Center

Our next destination is Tanjung Aan Beach. It is a nice white sand beach. We dont have much time to play around the beach. So I just walked around. There were a lot of children selling souvenir. They also offer to help take various kind of instagrammable pictures. Two of them offered me. But, I was a bit hesitant. Instead I asked them to be my model.

These two boys, Nunjal (front) and Soyong (back) at Tanjung Aan Beach, Lombok offered to take a picture of me pushing the hill…for 5 thousand rupiah pay. But I ended up convince them to pose for me.

From Tanjung Aan, the tour guide took us to Kuta Mandalika Beach. It’s the latest tourist area hailed to be the next Kuta. The beach is quieter and cleaner. The white sand is also similar to Kuta Beach. But the infrastructure is not entirely ready.

Here again, I found myself approached by many kids selling souvenir.

I chatted with two of them that also offered picture services. I knew that I would have to give them something so I might as well gave them a chance to show what they are capable of.

I was quite amazed with the end results. They certainly know how to work out a camera phone.

This one supposedly a two in one pic
This one is a flying pic
I only hoped a bit and it looked like I jumped high 🤣

The next day, its a free day, so I called one of my students who happened to live in Lombok. She took us around Praya.

We visited another mosque, Praya Mosque.

A fine view of Praya Great Mosque
Front view of Praya Great Mosque

Finally we visited a water reservoir before heading back to our hotel.

Lombok feels like Bali decades a go when there were less buildings and more natural sites.

Perhaps that is why the cloud seem a lot closer as if they were hanging from the sky.


My New Interests in Asian Movies and TV Series

I have always loved watching story in the forms of Feature Film or TV Series. Since my humble childhood, I remembered watching Japanese Cartoon, then Chinese Martial Arts series.There were also a point when my aunt and uncle introduced me with Bollywood movies.

As I grew up, I started watching more western (Hollywood and British production) movies and TV Series.

But over the years, my interests has broadened. First was due to the hugely popular Taiwanese TV Series Meteor Garden. At the time, I just came back from England. But, it was so popular that I quickly caught the fever.

Following that, Indonesia was hit by the South Korean Drama (K-Drama) invasion. The most notable among them is Full House. I did not know why I was immune to this drama. I never get to watch it fully.

My first introduction to K-drama happened when I coincidentally switch the channels of my cable TV. I came across a South Korean Drama called The Partner. I did not know who the actors and actress were at the time. But, just as I watched one episode I got hooked and end up watching the entire series!

Still, that was not enough to persuade me to fully embraced the K-drama fever. Partly because I tried hard to resist myself. I know once I watched a single episode I will get hooked and must watch them all at once. Such is the irresistible power that I prefer not to start at all.

I prefer to go back to my old territory of Hollywood movies and TV series. Until about a year a go. During our trip to Singapore, my younger daughter Hita got a fever. So, we ended up just staying in the hotel while Ratih went to Universal studio with her dad. Hita was asleep so I switched on the TV. I came across another K-Drama, Healer. And again, I just cant resist to continue watching. After that, I watched The legend of the Blue Sea, Suspicious Partner, My Love from the Star and Descendant of the Sun.

I often asked  myself:

What is it about this K-Drama that made it so irresistible?

I think one of the main strength of K-Drama is the lightness and bubblegum feeling that the drama created. K-Drama series typically starred by good looking actors and actresses. Most of the time, they have very cute and sweet behavior (I wonder if the South Korean people also behave that way in reality?). The setting can vary from legal, movie industry, restaurant, hotel, architecture, you name it, they have it.

But the main feature is the believable characters. In Telenovela or Indonesian Drama, the characters are mostly portrayed as black and white. The good is very good, the bad is very bad with over the top acting. But in K-Drama, the characters feel like they are actually human being, just like us. The main protagonist can be seen as a little ditzy and dirty (Suspicious Partner) or self-centered (My Love from the stars). It is also often the case when the female protagonists involved in altercation with their competitors.

Then, the creator not just go to great details for the main characters, but also for supporting characters. In most of the drama that I watched, there are always extended characters from father, mother, friends, colleagues. Together, they created a world that we would like to join in.

Finally, the story line. Its not as dramatic as Bollywood movies, or explosive as Hollywood. But, I find that the typical story line is engaging and intriguing but also not too heavy. So, it is enough to get the audience engaged right away till the end. Owh, another thing is, the drama is usually 16 episodes or 20 episodes long. So, it wont dragged on and on (we know some Indonesia series that go on until over 200 episodes!)

Now, the title is Asian Drama and Series. So, its not just about South Korean. Last time after I finished watching one full K-drama, I tried not to watch another. So, I switched the TV on. I found one channel that shows selected movies from across Asia. I came across a Thai movie titled “I Fine…Thank You…Love You”. It was really really funny…and very light. Good if you want to escape for a while. I also watched another Thai movie titled “Single Lady”. Just like the first movie, it is equally funny and easy to follow.

After that, I kept checking at the channel to find if there are more movies that I can watch. I ended up watching two Japanese Teenage Movie called “Wolf Girl and Black Prince” and “One Week Friends”. Both movie’s story line are quite simple. Yet, I quite enjoyed watching them, because the way the characters behave are very Japanese. The emphasis on always tell the truth and be honorable are something that I really admire.

So, I am determined to watch more movies from other countries. That way, I can learn about the country’s culture.

The Expectation of Being a Balinese

Being Balinese has many advantages including beautiful nature and the rich culture around you.

But it also comes with a catch.

As Balinese people expect certain things from you. I often heard my friend and colleague comment:

You are a Balinese so you must be a good dancer or a great artist.

Well, unfortunately, ­I am NOT both 😑

When I was little, I was given the basic dancing lesson so I know the basic moves. But, Balinese dance involves quite complicated choreography where you must balanced your legs, arms, and facial expressions according to the music (Gamelan). Plus, most Balinese dance involve more than one dancer. So, you must also coordinate with your fellow performer. Somehow, I just did not feel confident and not that interested to master in any of the traditional Balinese dance.

Its something that I later on regret as I often disappointed my college friends every time they expect me to perform during certain event.

But, in October last year, I got an opportunity to perform a ritual dance called Rejang Renteng for a ceremony in the local Pura. As always, at first I resisted to join. But, as it was part of a ritual, I felt obligated to do it. In the end, with a lot of hesitant I joined. The dance itself was quite simple compared to other Balinese dance. The movement were slow and repetitive…and it only takes around 7 minutes. We perform in a big group of 27 dancers, so I felt less intimated.

After a grueling 4 weeks of practice, we finally performed at the ceremony. It takes a lot of effort to prepare for the make up and hair-do. But, in the end I was really happy. Not only because I can be part of the ritual, but mostly because I can prove to myself that we can do anything if we put our mind to it.


The Most Common Theme of a Romantic Comedy

When Humble Authentic Woman Meet Arrogant Misunderstood Man

Perhaps the source of inspiration is Pride and Prejudice from none other than Jane Austen. In it, the heroine Elizabeth Bennet, is witty and clever lady with a less than advantageous family. She met with Mr. Darcy, who at first appear to be arrogant. The rest of the story involves the two of them understanding each other and eventually fall in love. The hugely successful miniseries is followed up by many Big Screen movies including Pride and Prejudice, Bride and Prejudice and many others.

The most interesting adaptation for me is The Bridget Jones’ Diary. The twist here is that instead of strongwilled, smart and witty Elizabeth Bennet, we have Bridget Jones a 30 something woman who smoke and drink but also bubbly and real. Colin Firth plays Mark Darcy, an upper class barrister who appears as a snob at first encounter. Well we can guess the rest of the story, but the conversations and jokes are quite refreshing.

The same storyline is also shared in Asia. Those of you who followed Asian series will know that Japanese Manga Series titled Boys over flower inspired a hugely popular Taiwan TV series Meteor Garden. Here, the heroine is San Chai, a hard working lower class girl who crossed path with Dao Ming Shi, a spoiled and stubborn wealthy boy. The difference here is the absence of Mr. Wickham. Instead we have Hua Ce Lei, Dao Ming Shi’s friend that intrigued San Chai’s interest at first.

The series are remade as South Korean Mini Series aptly titled as the original series: Boys Before Flower.

Do you know any other movies or series with a similar storyline?

Surabaya: City of Heroes

DSCF3104.JPGIsn’t ironic that I talk a lot about Bali and other places, but I have never wrote anything about the place that I currently live, Surabaya.

I tell you why. From the first time I came to Surabaya in 1994, I came to think of it as quite boring. Well, how can you blame me, I come from Bali where you can always find natural things for amusement. Surabaya, is a busy trade city. So, if you want to go to malls or shopping center then it is a good place. But other than that, its quite dull.

But as I started to live permanently in Surabaya in 2005, a lot has changed. Surabaya is now green and clean thanks to our mayor. But still, I have not really explore Surabaya.

Until when my then 8 years old niece who lives in Bali come to visit us. Then I got really excited to think how I can entertain her. I did not have the time to take her out of town…So, I ended taking her to the places around Surabaya.

Tugu Pahlawan

Surabaya is known as the City of Hero due to its courageous fight on 10th November 1945. In Indonesia it is commemorated as the National Hero Day. A monument is dedicated in remembrance of this fight.

Surabaya Heroes Museum

Monumen Kapal Selam

It is located in the center of the City of Surabaya. Its actually a submarine turned into a museum. Very popular place for teachers to take their students for field trip.

Submarine Museum

Patung Suro & Boyo

Located next to Monumen Kapal Selam is the iconic symbol of Surabaya: the Sura (Shark) and Baya (Crocodile).

Iconic Shark & Crocodile

Taman Remaja

The title can be translated into Youth Park. That is why this place is commonly used to showcase child and youth talent. Ever since my two girls enter kindergarten I have been a regular visitor of this park since they usually joined various competition here. The park has several stages to host dancing, singing and other performance. But it also has many children ride.


Wonorejo Mangrove Ecotourism

Here you can see one of the last mangrove forest in Surabaya. It basically provides means to increase awareness to preserve the ecosystems.


Surabaya Carnival

If you wanna take your kids for a fun trip but do not want to brave the traffic to Batu, Malang then you can take them to Surabaya Carnival. There are a lot of rides and interesting exhibits that will keep them busy!

Taman Bungkul

Recently, Surabaya also has a lot of new park. One of the most famous park is Taman Bungkul. Situated in the center of the city, the park is very lively particularly on Sunday Morning. A lot of people and communities just gather in the park. There is children playground, skating place, etc. Another attraction is the culinary stalls around the park.


Me and Famous Landmarks

Every famous place has its landmark. A visit to a famous place would not be complete if you have not taken a picture of “the” landmark.

I have been quite privileged to be able to visit some of the most famous places in the world and here is my collection…


There were plenty of other landmarks that I had of England and London in particular, but I took them with an old camera. So, to put them up I must scanned them like this one here.

Me with the iconic London’s Telephone

I hope that I can visit London again one day 🙂


I think that this landmark need no introduction. So happy to take it when the light was lit
Champs Ellyssee
Colorful window of Notre Damme


The Colloseum
Imagine that this was once the arena where Gladiators fought against lions?


The Vatican and the Pope was actually there...
The Vatican and the Pope was actually there…


The Petronas Tower


Some might argue that Merlion is the most iconic landmark of Singapore. But Marina sandsbay is equally great


I visited several states and each equally interesting.

Washington D.C.

The most famous house in the world

Boston, Massachusetts

Massachusets Institute of Technology


Chicago Navy Pier

San Fransisco

This one is probably the most precious pictures that I got during my visit to USA. First time we could not get a picture of the bridge it was really foggy. As we drove we kept trying to get a picture until finally we got a perfect spot to get this one.


Asiatique, a busy shopping area in Bangkok


Kumamoto Castle

Blangsinga and Tegenungan Waterfalls

On our way home from Saba to Songan, Kintamani we wanted to visit a new place. My husband mentioned that there are a waterfall close by. He said its called Tegenungan Waterfall.

I searched for it and found that it was quite close to another waterfall called Blangsinga Waterfall. I did not really checked it on the map.

My husband decided to take us to Blangsinga Waterfall. We arrived to the entrance and immediately went to the ticket box. It was relatively cheap, only 30 thousands rupiah for two adults and two children (under 12 years old).

First we took quite a steep stairs so I would advise visitor to really watch over their children. Not long after we took the stairs down we arrived to a heart-shaped wooden frame clearly prepared for visitors to take instagram-worthy pictures 😁

We carried on after taking our pictures. My husband and the girls walked ahead of me as I stopped several times to take some pictures of the surrounding. The cool water splash and sound of the waterfall were really inviting.

After I reached the bottom of the stairs there was a lady who wanted to climb up. The guard stopped and asked for her ticket. She showed it and I heard him said “Sorry, if you want to climb here, you must pay for a ticket…if you dont wanna pay then you must take that route”. The guard signal for a stairs in another side of the river. It puzzled me…but I didnt ask for more information. I just assume that we must also take the route…although I can already see that there were so many more steps compared to the way we came down.

We then enjoyed the cool and fresh water of the river. Some visitors swim under the waterfall. Some prefer to take instagram-worthy pic by swinging in front of the waterfall.

We did not bring any clothes to swim so we just crossed the river. As we about to take the steps there were sign that says “good luck with the 165 steps”.

Wow…for a person who rarely exercise like myself…it is quite a put off..but my girls just went straight.

I took it bit by bit. I stopped several time. Finally, I arrived and immediately greeted by a sign that read Tegenungan Waterfall. It took me sometimes to realized that we have actually crossed to another territory.

I am still hoping that Blangsinga carpark is within walking distance. So we stopped in one of the shop by a drink and ask the lady the way to get back to Blangsinga. She said it was quite a walk. 4.1 kilometres to be exact. She said we better go back down and up to where we came 😮😵

So apparently, the two waterfalls, to be honest I completely missed the Tegenungan waterfall on my way up because I was so busy catching my breath, were separated only by a river. But, on land it was 4.1km.

Turns out I misinterpret what happened earlier. Each waterfall sold separate ticket. You can enjoy the same sceneries as long as you come and go from the same place, which make more sense rather than my assumption 😂

So moral of the story is

Dont assume, just ask whenever you are in doubt

But, I have no regret. I quite enjoyed having conquer the 165 steps!

Plus, I got this perfect shot of the waterfall from Tegenungan steps.