About A Dining Table and Its People

About a dining table and its people. A dining table can tell us more about our relationship with other people, even the reality of our current life. At least, it will give a clue to it.

When you share a dining table with few people or a group of people, and you enjoy the food, the conversation, feel at peace and inspired by the encounters, there’s a good chance that you are with the right people. Be grateful for it.

On the contrary, if you feel like a stranger, or if you feel you don’t understand well about what’s your friends talk about, look inside yourself to see if it’s time to upgrade your skill and knowledge. But be careful. There is also a possibility that you might build a friendship with people who have different values than yours, that you feel not on the same page most of the time.

Even a person who enjoys having dinner alone has something to tell about the current life situation or the relation with other people. It’s easy to guess that it’s a bad story, but it’s not always the case. Some people enjoy having a meal alone for many different reasons, bad or good stories behind, that affect the way he/she sees the relation with other people. Because I believe that even a person can really enjoy and feel comfortable of having a meal by himself, he will choose to have it with other person when there is a chance for it (have a good friend, another person who is willing to listen to him, understand him better than everyone else, etc.).

There is a saying that our future fate will also be influenced, to some degree, by the people in which we spend most of the time. It’s also true that we should open ourselves to be friendly and kind to everyone. But, we need to be careful to pick the inner circle, the group of people who would like to invite if you are going to have a special dinner for one table only.


At The Holy Mary’s Grotto

One evening I entered the Holy Mary’s grotto at Fransiscus Xaverius church and was struck by a melancholic feeling.

Over there, before the Holy Mary statue, a woman in red sat. I couldn’t see her face but I can hear her weeping.

I took a seat, listening to the melancholic sobs. What happened to her life, I wondered. Though it felt strange to me to be in the middle of this scene, I’m always taught to keep your tears in your room and bring only smiles every time I leave.

Yet, it then came to my awareness that, in addition to life and death, we human beings share some common things: sadness, pain, problems, also happiness. No one will ever escape from it.

My friend once said there is nothing last forever, even pains. That, the purpose of life is not happiness, but to live life. During the ups, remember your struggles, and during the downs, remember your happy moments.

So, if we share those common things, then why do we need to hide our pain or sadness? If we truly understand that life has its ups and downs, why do we only share our happiness? to make people feel envy? to show the world that life seems always be nice to us?

I canceled my intention to have some quiet moment there and left the room soon as I was about to cry, too. I have not the courage yet to cry outside my room.


O, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who turn to you. Amen.


A Well-Spent Saturday Evening at Splash Bistro


Meats on skewers. Churrasco BBQ Dinner at Splash Bistro, Hard Rock Hotel Bali, Saturday (3/8/2019).

Two medium-sized grill stations next to the swimming pool are fired up. A dozen chicken wings lining up on a skewer, so is one medium chunk beef, lamb, alongside with the sausages - all are being roasted over an open fire on one grill. Another one features one big roasted pig on a spit. As thin smoke fills the air, sending a distinctive seductive scent to the diners; a tempting invitation for a meaty dinner.

A waiter greets me and shows my table in the corner, near the kitchen. A nice spot, from which I can enjoy people-watching in the all-white seatings of al fresco dining area of Splash Bistro in Hard Rock Hotel Bali, accommodating up to 50 people. Looking far into the background is the hotel’s unique Sand Island, a free-form swimming pool with real beach sand, acting as a private beach inside this world-renowned chain hotel.

Splash Bistro itself is a relaxing poolside bistro in the bustling Kuta area. Like an oasis, just a few steps away from the majestic Kuta Beach, visiting here after witnessing the legendary sunset is an excellent idea to avoid the crowds as well as the traffic, for a while. Wood-fired pizzas, pasta, and refreshing cocktails are their regular offerings, with some seasonal programs, such as the now happening Churrasco BBQ Buffet Dinner every Saturday, from 6pm until 9:30pm.

Splash Bistro as photographed from  near the hotel’s lobby area.

Al-fresco dining style.

Grill station.

A selection of sumptuous menu is prepared on the tables for the all-you-can-eat dinner, with the salad station is the usual way to start. Choose from refreshing Caesar salad, Tuscan Panzanella salad, or Roasted potato salad with pesto, sundried tomatoes and spring onion. If none of the above is your favorite, you can opt to order from their regular menu at an additional price.

The main course, indeed, is the roasted meats. Waiters will pop-up with a skewer full of meat. One with the chicken wings, the next one with a chunk of lamb meat, beef, sausages; they will keep moving around from one table to another. All guests can just relax; keep adding the meats to the plate; enjoy them along with the sides like Spanish saffron rice or the Fire-roasted corn and an overwhelming chioce of six different kind os sauces. The roasted pork from a separate grill station is also worth-trying for those who eat that.

Lamb on Skewer.

Beef Sausage with bacon.

During the dinner, a stage on the Sand Island calls for your attention for Hardrock Roxity Kids Club. This is an opportunity for little champs to feel confident in front of the crowds. They can sing, dance, make jokes and share whatever they want to share. A boy wearing safari shirt and round hat, who sits with his parent next to my table, comes up to the stage and tells a short story of why he and his parent come to the Island. He also shares a riddle: what does the traffic light say to the car? Unfortunately, I can’t hear clearly when he gives the correct answer. (Do you know?). The stage will be available for kids until none are showing up.

An interesting entertainment.

Desserts.

Ice Cream for dessert?

After finishing the dessert, I am ready for another little journey around Kuta and hope that the traffic outside is friendlier. It’s a well-spent Saturday evening with a kind of different guest participating entertainment to watch, paired with the delicious dinner menu.

I would recommend the bistro to new families with kid(s) for casual and relaxing dinner time in Kuta area. The experience of Churrasco BBQ all-you-can-eat-dinner is available for both the hotel’s guests and visitors, with prior reservation recommended for the latter.

It costs at a reasonably good price for the experience it offers, at IDR 400K nett/adult, half price for a child aged 6 to 12 years old, with the bonus of eating for free for one child under 6 years old with every paying adult. Ask your kids first, “Do you wanna grill, grill, grill, kids?”

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SOLACE

SOLACE

A morning in the cold days of June,

I wake up, feeling sane.

Through the window sunshine pouring in,

as if a pure angel stopping in.


I look at the window and for one more time remember you.

It seems like the angel slowly draws your face on the window glass.

As my eyes follow the little hand, I feel turning into blue.

Find a good heart, yesterday a friend lent me her advice,

when I told her that forever love is never true.

It was the first time I remember your face.

And my heart broke apart twice.


No one told me that it was you,

someone should have told me that it was you,

if only someone told me that it was you.

So I would stay,

not chasing you away.


But time flies.

From young and mistakes,

all become old and wise.

Because of you, I take the courage,

believing forever love is exist.


It is a cold morning of June,

to the end of sunshine I move,

so the light will fall upon my face.

It feels so warm, I’m at peace.


Bali, June 2019

For A. Thanks for being a good heart.

Thank you M for the advice and a treat of Espresso Martini.


Arya Trimni Putra ‘The Painting Crazy Man’ Has Made It!

That rainy Saturday evening, 16 March 2019, was a memorable day for the painter Arya Trimni Putra. Wrapped in all black clothes – black long sleeves shirt and trousers, the neat and tidy man could not hide the feeling of happiness and accomplishment from his face. All of his hard work, persistence, and pain was going to be paid off. The moment has finally arrived when the Vice Director of Indonesian Record Museum (Museum Rekor Indonesia, MURI), Osmar Susilo Semesta, as the representative of the organization, awarded the acknowledgment letter Number 8891 to Arya Trimni Putra as a painter who produces the most paintings in 30 days. The awarding event was held at Sudakara ArtSpace, the gallery space of Sudalamala Suites & Villas, Sanur-Bali; attended by hotel representatives, journalists, and art lovers.

The project to create 1000 abstract paintings in 30 Days, which is summed up in a title “Art is Unlimited” started on 15 February 2019, with the launching event held on the Valentine’s Day, one day before. Sudamala Suites & Villas provided their gallery Sudakara ArtSpace for the workspace, where Arya worked on a daily basis from 10am until 10pm. Arya ArtWorld, as the painter’s management, provided all the needs from canvases, oil painting, to logistics.

During the launching event media conference, Arya revealed the reason behind the choice of Valentine’s Day as the starting date of his project, at the same time, opened up a bit about his life story and how he chose paintings as the way he dedicates the rest of his life.

It Can’t End Just Like That on Valentine’s Day

You are right. It is a phrase from the movie The Lake House (2006). Having pulled the phrase out of its context of the movie, that phrase crossed my mind when listened to Arya’s story. Growing up in a family business, Arya had a career as a psychologist in Surabaya until the life-changing moments happened. In 2001, several years before the movie was released, Arya lost his pregnant wife on Valentine’s Day, just a few months after his mother passed away in November previous year.

In deep grief and sadness, Arya locked up himself in his room for almost two weeks, barely not even touch his food. His family and friends were worried about him. One day, one of his friends brought him a canvas, oil painting, and a guide book to paint; put it in front of his room. Arya picked up the canvas and expressed his feeling in the form of art. Having no background in art, what he expressed on the canvas steal the attention of the buyer to purchase the painting.

He was, at first, reluctant about the idea of selling it. If someone bought it, then what’s the money for, he thought. “Well, it’s up to you. But, you can use the money to help those in need,” Arya recited his friend’s answer. He agreed with the idea. After receiving the money from his first painting, they strolled around the city of Surabaya and at around 10pm met a man selling traditional toys for kids. They chatted for a while and the man said that he would not go home without some money in hand. Arya decided to help the man and went home together for a visit. That moment changed Arya’s life as he decided to spend the rest of his life as a painter and help those who in need through the arts he creates.

Keeping his unconditional love for those three people he loves most, Arya continues his journey of life with canvas and brushes in hand. He held exhibitions in some cities in Java, painted prominent figures, and in 2019 be a record holder.

Art is Unlimited is one of his ways to remember and show his unconditional love for people he loves as well as show his commitment to helping others. Any purchases of his abstract paintings in Art is Unlimited will be donated to Yayasan Sayangi Bali, a non-profit organization in Bali which saves and takes care of babies abandoned by unmarried couples.

People laugh at you at first, then appreciate your efforts, support you towards your goals, and finally clap hands for your success.

Arya’s mission to fill the 1000 blank canvases in four different sizes wasn’t an easy journey. Having set a plan to finish a minimum of 34 paintings per day, he painted only 10 on the first day. “I was so nervous and uninspired that day. I wished to get support from friends and my manager I Made Putra Suardana asked for support from many people, but the first reaction from most people was impossible or are you joking?” Arya shared the experience.

It was from the hotel’s guests or people visiting the gallery that Arya got the spirit to keep going. Some of them encouraged him that he will make it. It was also from them he got inspirations for his paintings. “The colors of their clothes, patterns, and small details of what I see every day at Sudamala are some inspirations for those paintings.”

I once made a visit at the beginning of March and was informed that the number reached over 400 paintings. Wearing a red t-shirt with Puma logo on the front side, for me, it looked like representing his spirit and motivation, he shared with me that the inspiration for the day was Jackson Pollock. While working on the canvases, he also shared about the people who visit him, and his activities of watching movies like The Greatest Showman during the night after painting day to keep the positive vibe on. He was fine and in good shape, I thought.

Later after the awarding event, the manager who is familiarly called as Mangku Putra shared the most critical moment of the process. It was on one day during the final week, Arya felt so inspired, and he kept painting for almost 24 hours non-stop. “Arya asked me to go home because he was worried that I did not get enough rest. But, it was him that I was worried more. I was worried about his condition to the point that Arya did not know that I had booked an ambulance to be ready somewhere near Sudamala. Thankfully, everything was fine, and he set a new daily record of finishing 135 paintings in a day,” said Mangku Putra.

From Indonesia to the World

After spending 144 cans of oil paintings for this record-breaking, Arya is now looking for a possibility to spend more cans to put his name on the Guinness World Records. One of his supporter, who visited him while completing the 1000 paintings, challenged him to go further. And, the idea is to paint 2000 paintings in 30 days for Guinness.

Beyond all his motivation and dedication to the people he loves, Arya sees the opportunity as a bigger place to resonate more his mission of spreading the message to his fellow artists: “In art especially, a human cannot be replaced by a machine. Now machine can produce faster, in a large number in a short period of time, but machine don’t have the emotions, the personal touch to art.”

I personally hope he will make it, too.


Not A Typical Ubud, Yet I Found It’s Cool!

Hippie Fish Ubud is not a typical Ubud ‘thing’, I thought at first. Bringing a nautical theme, instead of the teak wooden and classic style that Ubud is proud of, this Mediterranean restaurant takes a risky job of moving a beachside café and restaurant vibe to the middle of Ubud, right in the central area, only a few steps from the famous Ubud Palace and Ubud traditional Market. Yet, I find it cool! It looks like a break space from the green, magical and healing charm of Ubud, without the need of leaving the town.

Because of work-related connection, I was invited to visit the restaurant which just opened its door last December 2018. I was curious and keen to find out more about this place. My direct contact was unable to greet me in person, and he suggested me to meet Edo, one of the team members who hold a managerial role for the restaurant’s operational. Well, that’s fine. So, on a calm Saturday, I drove all the way from Denpasar to Ubud for this intriguing visit.

Seeing Hippie Fish from Ubud Market view, the façade is striking, outstanding from the surroundings. Triangle-shaped thatched roofs give shade to the combination of soft blue, white, and brown interior below. Close to the sidewalk is the drinking area, long bar tables, perfect for people-watching, adorned with cute swings on one side. I crossed the street and stepped into the restaurant. I mentioned to the staff that I had an appointment with Edo, and she brought me to a table where two guys were sitting and having a conversation. I expected a warm welcome and casual conversation in which I could dig more information about the restaurant. But, it was only a short introduction. Edo asked a staff to handle my visit, then he asked permission to continue the conversation with his friend, who later I knew as his partner, the chef and the man behind the menu. “Thank you. May I take a look around?” I said, putting aside the little disappointment and finding other enjoyments.

I like the vibe and ambiance the restaurant has to offer in the middle of Ubud. It has no ricefield nor jungle views that many people expect from an Ubud visit and does not need to. The open-air space with a rich element of the ocean on every corner, combined with the street and traditional Ubud market activities as enjoyable scenes, is more than enough to provide an afternoon shelter to anyone enjoying people-watching of the town’s humble and tireless daily life.

There are seashells beautifully put on each table. In the main area, in front of the bar station, a high, long wooden table paired with dozens of hanging lamps above is an Instagram spot on the day turning into a gathering table for the evening. Stepping further inside, there are two half-rounded sofa-styled tables, comfortable for hanging out about 4-6 people. Nearby, a small transparent wine room has some selections in case of needing something for celebration. Going up to the second floor, there are few tables. I will choose to sit here when in the need of privacy and put some distances from the traffic noises outside.

Back to the main area on the first floor, I ordered a cocktail, Let Your Hubby Home (Rosemary Gin, Lime, Berry, and Soda) to start the palate experience. A nice cocktail presentation with a small yellow duck floating on the top was served on my table. It’s so cute that makes me imagine the taste: fresh, light, and fun. Unfortunately, it was not. Don’t get me wrong! It was not that bad; I simply did not get it. Even after the fourth or fifth sip. I wished that it was just me, not the cocktail, for the main reason that I am not a cocktail expert at all. It’s a totally personal preference.

The next thing that came was more than a consolation but paid off, at least for me. The food I ordered, Market Fish, a choice of fillet fish and peperoncino (sambals), plus garlic spinach, pleased my palate, I can’t recommend more. I love it. It seems that Hippie Fish can be proud of the Mediterranean cuisine that they are offering. On my visit, the list of food on the menu doesn’t overwhelm me with an abundance of choices, but I hope the kitchen will provide more as more and more people coming to the restaurant.

I was still not convinced with the cocktail, but I realized that I’m not the guy to judge, and I am no longer can stand for another glass of cocktail. So, I ordered a cup of cappuccino for the dessert. It was around 5pm when the coffee was served, and I saw that this place was never empty. That day, there were always people come and go, for a beer, or a hearty meal. A couple who spent the whole afternoon at the swinging area was gone, replaced by a lady who at one point asked help from the staff to take a photo of her, demanded to repeat for several times, until she got that one Instagram shot.

After finishing the cappuccino, I spotted Edo at the bar, and I approached him to say thank you. He looked not so busy this time and unexpectedly I got some time to talk with him. A young man in his twenties, he left his country, Italy, and worked in Australia for several years before ended up on the Island of Bali. As he told his stories, I saw his phone, the screen was cracked, should be falling hard one time, the cracked lines are all over the screen, yet it was still normal and can be used normally. I imagined that I was listening to a Steve Job or Mark Zuckerberg type of business personality. He told me that it is now one and half year in Bali, and he felt so lucky and blessed because everything has come into one good moment: partners, colleagues, times, investors – now he has turned the ideas into realities with more than five café and restaurants to be managed.

“Everything is going so fast to this point, and now I need to step back a bit and slow down. Every morning, when I wake up, I asked myself, what is my purpose for life. I don’t think I have figured it out by now, so I keep asking that same question every time I wake up.” I was speechless and ashamed of myself. Every morning, the first thing I do is hitting the snooze button.


1000 Abstract Paintings in 30 Days: An Expression of Unconditional Love

Inspired and brave all at once, an Indonesian artist, Arya Trimni Putra, will paint 1000 abstract paintings continuously in just 30 days from 14th February through until 16th March 2019 at Sudakara ArtSpace, Sudamala Suites & Villas, Sanur in an impressive project and exhibition entitled “Art is Unlimited.”

The artist Arya Trimni Putra was born in Surabaya, East Java, where he nurtured a successful career as a medical doctor. In 2011, Arya lost his mother and wife, and this devastating period changed the course of his life. Overwhelmed with bereavement, friends presented Arya with blank canvases and encouraged him to paint as a way of expressing the rawness of his emotions. Unexpectedly, Arya’s creations impressed many. Encouraged and excited, Arya chose to be a full-time artist with a commitment of giving back to the community.

Art is Unlimited at Sudakara ArtSpace, Sanur-Bali

Through Art is Unlimited, Arya commemorates true, unconditional love inspired by his past life. The creation of 1000 paintings in 30 days is also his response to today’s modern society, where machinery plays a central role in human life. It is his statement that humanity excels and emotions cannot be replaced, replicated or produced by machinery. The process of creating in short space of time will be a true challenge, and Arya strives to cope with his human limitation with full of passion and commitment. Let’s support his project!

Event: Art Is Unlimited

Exhibition time: 14 February - 16 March 2019. Opening: 14 February at 6PM.

Location: Sudakara ArtSpace at Sudamala Villas & Suites, Sanur

Free Event

I will be attending the opening event, too! Hope to write more about this after the event. See you there!


Natural Spots in Bali for Recharging Our Energy

Sometimes we are tired with things around us: group’s schedules, tour itineraries, or just the crowds. I know how it feels. We want to explore on our own. Just for one day, please… your deepest heart might beg. If that is the case, I hope you will be ready for a little exploration. And, the good news is that Bali is safe for solo traveling.

Even though some Balinese we will meet along the road can only speak little English and more Bahasa or Balinese language, we can still see their good intention to help. Or, we can simply turn on the online map; most areas are in general have fair to good internet reception.

A beach is simply the place to go for a quiet moment when staying around the tourist areas of Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, and Nusa Dua. While beaches in these are surrounded by hundreds of establishments and modern facilities, traveling a little further promise the real charm of Bali, which has attracted visitors for years: its natural beauty and culture.

Let’s walk with me to some beautiful places worth visiting. Put on your helmet or hitch a ride, and off we go to explore the island.

Camping at Bukit Asah

BUKIT ASAH

In the eastern part of Bali, Bukit Asah at Bugbug Village, Karangasem, spoils our eyes with the undisturbed sea view from an eagle view. The high cliff area with slopes covered with greens is a cool spot for enjoying a quiet moment or little adventure with close friends. Here, you will spot a tiny island nearby, called Whale Island.

Once a while, the elegant movements of a boat crossing on Lombok - Padangbai route is somehow interesting to look at. In case you love the ambiance and hope to stay for a little longer, make it into a camping night. The locals living nearby provide tents for rent and services at an affordable rate per night. Contact +62 812 38338057 for inquiry about tent availability.

Location Map

Morning meditation at Tegenungan Waterfall.

TEGENUNGAN WATERFALL

Located in Gianyar area, this waterfall becomes one of the most visited in Bali, due to its strategic location between Kuta and Ubud. If you happen to travel in that direction, a visit to the waterfall will not ruin your travel schedule. Experience the Bali Swing thrill, make a sexy photo or dip into the cool water. The downside is this waterfall can be packed with tourists during the day.

However, recently I followed my friend for a spiritual journey, and we came early in the morning and spent the whole morning there for a meditation session near the waterfall. It was almost still empty. So, for a more tranquil atmosphere, be here before 9AM

Ticket entrance fee IDR 15,000/person. Location Map


MONKEY FOREST & PETULU

A natural refuge from the strong mid-day sun in Ubud, the complex of the wild park with huge trees located in the centre of Ubud is perfect to visit during the day.

Spend a leisure time walking in nature and watching the funny, sometime nosy, actions of monkeys inside. Please be advised to keep your belongings safe during the visit. Stay calm and don’t overreact if the monkey gets to steal your items. Instead, buy bananas or peanuts from the local sellers for a good trade.

After visiting Monkey Forest, a short drive to Petulu will complete the day. Located in north Ubud, around 20-minute drive, the village has been attracting visitors since years ago. Before the dusk, you will get a chance to watch thousands of herons coming home and roost on the lining trees along the road. Come and see, it is a simple, natural yet magical moment for a brief.

Monkey Forest entrance fee: IDR 50,000/adult. Location Map

No entrance fee for Petulu. Location Map

Mangrove view from Observation Tower.

MANGROVE INFORMATION CENTER

This wild mangrove forest is ideal if you are staying in Kuta and Seminyak area, but refuse to travel far. It is fairly not crowded all day. My morning walk here is peaceful and refreshing. Read my blog post for detail experiences before you go here.

Entrance Fee IDR 10,000/person (domestic). Location Map


I wish you a fulfilling journey and a refreshing trip while on the island of Bali!




Photographing Mr. CEO

I know nothing about him, except basic info from a quick browse on the web. He is Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. We were in the same place, in his place actually, because he is the person who opened the new coffee store in Bali, and I was invited by his team to join the media conference as a media person.

Yet, I may know a little about him. During the event, it was a sunny day that suddenly changed to heavy rain. I was there and he was also there when a problem happened outside, because of the rain. But, both of us saw the moment it happened. I was sitting at the bar, waiting for my coffee. And he was about to start a video interview with two media crew.

Some people panicked, and a team worked quickly on that problem. And, I looked at him. A very important man saw a problem happened during an opening event. And, He did not react. His face was still calm like nothing happened. He smiled and I heard he said to the media crew, “Let’s move a bit and start the interview.”

I took the photograph about 15 minutes later, when he finished the interview and walked with a small glass of espresso at his hand.

I hope he was still calm until the end of the day. 


Beach Is My Refuge

Some other people visit the beach for having a fun time; I come for a solitude moment and watching them enjoying their fun time.

I am an introvert and the beach is my refuge.

From the crowds, from the endless thoughts, from the complex feelings.


It is a pause moment,

where my time slows down,

where the sound of the waves tells my mind to shut up,

where the sea breezes caress my heart,

where the soft sands invite me to sit down,

And assure me that everything will be fine.


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