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A handful of tickets, 6 YOGYAKARTA - Quite a lot back in time, about two-and-a-half to three years already, but when I found these bills again there were certain memories returning to my mind. It's time once more to write down some of them here on this virtual paper, so I can reduce my current heap of entrance- and parking tickets and other useless prove of payment. I always keep all of them, just in case. But there is never a just in case until I find them again, like today.

Earlier I had decided that all of these 'documents' had to be digitalized with a date before they were archived. You never know if you will ever need them, even if you just want to look at it or if someone asks you for a helping hand. When seeing such items I can often recall dates and experiences. That makes it much more easy to give people an helping hand to share them my experiences.

Until now, archiving is something of the future. This causes a heap of paper in all kinds of colors and shapes less than one meter from my current desk. They will probably still be there for a while to come, however I always have the idea to start cleaning it out. Too bad (ooh well) I have more to do than digitalizing those papers and dreaming away with the good memories that are generally associated with this work. Of course daydreaming is not wrong as well. Time to get those two bills from restaurants on two different islands in the Indonesian archipelago.

Gazebo Restaurant, Rantepao, Sulawesi

Bill from the Gazebo Restaurant in Rantepao, where I had a meal for the first time and until now the last time about two and a half years ago.
Bill from the Gazebo Restaurant in Rantepao, where I had a meal for the first time and until now the last time about two and a half years ago.

Early in the year 2004 I was finally sure that I would go to the island of Sulawesi for the first time. It was still some months away before I would travel to Indonesia at all, but it was finally about to happen. Via a friend in Sulawesi, with his own travel agency, I was able to make a ten-day trip including car, hotel nights and a private driver. I had never done that before as well, so for sure I wanted to try that. And that is exactly what happened.

I remember Tana Toraja as a place where it rained a lot. Of course nothing wrong with that because it was fresh there, so in fact it caused me to be more active than in the warmer regions of the island. The car had - due to its air-conditioning - one single climate aboard. Were it was colder outside than in the car, windows were opened. Not only because it's cheaper in petrol, but also because I can really enjoy those moments. Fresh air, just wonderful.

The memories here are positive; however I can still remember a morning without a fixed schedule. When I was located in the Toraja Prince Hotel, almost the entire day is rained heavily. The first hours I could enjoy the nicely landscaped - and maintained - garden with big trees and nice lawns, but after a few hours even that bores me, however I do like green in my environment. Since the rain didn't seem to stop, there was nothing else left than venturing outside with a small umbrella. I made it until the main building. That was about it. Maybe a little too chilly to walk around in the rain.

A day later still in the same hotel, but by then the weather had improved. It was dry by now and I was able to make a short walk. On the way back a power blackout caused the environment to be almost completely dark. I had to wait for a passing car or motorbike - which are far less frequent on Sulawesi than on Java or Bali - to see find my way home safely and avoid potholes and water. Nowadays I don't leave home without wearing something with a light (mobile phone does it as well however it's more expensive when it gets wet), but I didn't think of that back then.

The bill of the restaurant which causes me to drift away a few thousand kilometers isn't really a special one. White with black printings, like there are so many. I was probably lucky that they printed their own logo on their bills, because too often you will get not much more than a cash register-receipt, sometimes including hard-to-read date and an amount with many zeros, because you are in Indonesia of course.

The restaurant itself, maybe just like its bills, wasn't a really remarkable place as well. Located alone one of the few main roads in the provincial town of Rantepao. I 'know' Rantepao from a beautiful documentary which has been made about it. That created one huge mirage, because the many kerbau (water buffalo) were hard to find. Maybe it has been twenty years ago, but still; that image was erased from my memory as being Rantepao directly when I saw the current city.

Some kind of small path besides a building, entirely paved with simple grey stones was used as a restaurant. The places to sit were wooden 'gazebos', a kind of mini-house with a table and two wooden benches and a straw roof. A nice place to have a cozy time together, but the atmosphere there wasn't really that cozy. The gazebo's were too close to each other and because I was hardly able to see the sky this didn't create the nice environment to have a big dinner here. The menu was inviting and the food tasted good as well, that's a fact.

The further trip through Tana Toraja and South Sulawesi I had the luxury to eat in several more places, mostly enjoying nice meals, snacks, things like that. The bills I usually got there were indeed more 'just write something' than a nice representation of the establishment. In fact that's a pity because there are enough places - like a restaurant in the town of Sengkang along the Danau Tempe lake - where I want to go back again to see how the place looks now.

Senggigi, Lombok

Then it's back in time even further for another restaurant on another island just east of the already 'raped' southern part of Bali. On the still peaceful island of Lombok you will find a small village named Senggigi. The village itself is set up much wider than for example the overcrowded Kuta-Legian area in Southern Bali. This makes a big difference already even if it were to be just as crowded at the other side of the big water. It isn't that crowded by far, never been like that as well. You will even have difficulty finding Indonesian tourists here.

Of course I can ask myself why that is the case, but personally I don't have anything to do with the fact why Indonesian as well as foreign tourists stay away from this place. I would love to see more work for the local population here, but it's just not the case. Meanwhile I can enjoy the tranquility of the area, you can even hear birds and at the hottest point of the day you may even see a biawak running by, looking for a cooler place beneath the trees.

No bill, just a picture of the last restaurant in Lombok where I had a very good meal. It's located directly along the main road of Senggigi, so it can be easily reached. Still you will have a pretty quiet meal since it's peaceful there. No bill, just a picture of the last restaurant in Lombok where I had a very good meal. It's located directly along the main road of Senggigi, so it can be easily reached. Still you will have a pretty quiet meal since it's peaceful there.

All kinds of memories rise from my last meal there in the restaurant with the nice front garden. The restaurant had a first floor and looked almost deserted. There was a drunken Australian (when he ordered yet another Bir Bintang he blew his cover with is clear accent when counting his money. The nicely maintained garden and a good kitchen caused this hotel to be a remarkable place for me, where I want to go back for sure. What we got presented wasn't a little snack at all; for a nice price we got half a chicken in a basket with French fries.

I wanted to go further back in time than this restaurant because this was just a few months ago. I want to go back to 2007 in fact. The weather at that time was beautiful. No rain, even not a single cloud in the sky, especially not this close to the beach. Further inland, where the foothills of the Gunung Rinjani volcano started, clouds started to form. But because of a simple lack of time I wasn't able to organize a hike to the top. That was one thing I had to do on a future date.

That hike to the top was already something I could only dream of back in 2003. I had more time them, but I choose to have a lazy holiday. Afterwards I had to start working right away when I was back in the Netherlands. No, then I prefer to have a quiet time. Of course I did have a good chance to take a look at things. I'm not really good in observing, but regularly I remember things that simply flash by in life. At a later point I will get back to that, because I seem to remember those flashes pretty easily.

Away from that drunken Australian and the thoughts of climbing one of the many active volcanoes in Indonesia, I was at the beach of Senggigi, with nice fine white sand, not yet polluted with plastic, charcoal from earlier campfires and other trash. Or maybe it was just maintained very well, the beach happened to be a private beach of the restaurant where I was enjoying my time. In the first place the sun but also a cold beer presented to you as you will hardly find in Indonesia.

Under the palm trees in the shadow it's a pleasant stay with a soft breeze from the sea. A short distance away are some tourists baking in the sun, but at a reasonable distance so I am not forced to look at it, because it's not such a pretty sight at all. The staff - in abundance here too - knows what is expected of them and keeps a proper distance until the moment they are needed. Service like this is in most restaurants (the real ones) hard to find, not to talk about the music which is often played at such levels that either your ears or the boxes are at the point of exploding. No music here, at a beautiful beach like this you don't need music.

After a big part of my beer was drained from the glass - I was quick, the staff not too slow - my lasagna arrived. It looked splendid and also with a breeze I could smell that it would also taste perfect. A nice plate was served with on that - clearly visible - enough to get a proper meal at this nice day.

Bill of the Alang-Alang Restaurant in Senggigi, this was the first time I was here and I visited the place again later. Again with nice sea view of course.
Bill of the Alang-Alang Restaurant in Senggigi, this was the first time I was here and I visited the place again later. Again with nice sea view of course.

Of course it was a matter of minutes before the dish was empty. I didn't crave for a desert, so that one was skipped and kept for a next time, but a drink is always welcome. That wasn’t a problem either. Meanwhile I had the time to make a short walk on the beach. Earlier that day I had protected myself with sun block, knowing that in this weather I tend to burn pretty quickly, being a born red-head (though not many people would say that nowadays). In fact it's too hot for protective clothing as well, which causes it's own dangers when using a motorbike.

A walk on the beach under palm trees is something from romantic movies, maybe something from The Beach. This wasn’t a deserted beach fortunately, otherwise I didn't have anything to eat. No, that's not what I'm looking for as well. A cultivated natural environment is a perfect afternoon for me as well. Soon it became time to make the trip back to Mataram. Because I wanted to see the scenery and I prefer to drive with daylight it was about time to kick start the engine. Senggigi isn't hours driving, but I always want to see something and then it’s needed to stop there for a while.

Links
· Caraka Travelindo
· Alang-Alang Villa's




Posted in Travel @ 01 January 2007 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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