From Java to Lombok

nr.11 matahari

Lombok, Indonesia, Friday, June 13


Even though we are still in Indonesia, we have just found out that Art&Business magazine probably no longer exists. Much of what we considered as stable started to fade away like ice cubes in a drink sipped on the Serendipity Beach.

Our Thai friend got mad, because it is more difficult to get visa to Poland these days. Nowadays, it is fifty-eight days and not fifteen as it used to be.

We left Java on June 2.

This was a tiring month, which included tears and festered eyes, cough and black residue in our noses, people saying ‘yes’ but thinking ‘no’, mosques on every corner, air filled with the overpowering stench of burning trash, a variety of food that tasted the same, galleries and artists grazed on pastures of China and Singapore, but first and foremost fed by local feeders.

In comparison with other islands in Eastern Indonesia, Java is harsh and bitter.

For us, however, Java was a month spent in the Art Merdeka studio of S. Tedy Darmawan, a very interesting artist with whom we were planning to go to Sumba Island a year before. We got along the moment we first met. Unfortunately, on May 27 we got the news of his death, which left us speechless. He had been struggling with an illness for a long time, but managed to work until his last days. We would often see him falling asleep by his desk. A true demon of work.

That day in Jogja there was a big exhibition opening at ArtJog, during which Darmawan was officially bid farewell with the words of Selamat Jalan Tedy.

Yesterday, his ashes were scattered in the ocean next to the Matahari Terbit Beach in Sanur on Bali, as the symbol of the fifth element returning to nature.

It took us sixty hours to get from Jogja to Bali. On the way there, we passed several villages and volcanos. Bromo is worth seeing but Kawah Ijen is a must.

We would spend nights at Pertamina gas stations, as they offered mandi – an Indonesian bath, where you take a small plastic scoop, dip it into a large tub filled with water and you pour the water over yourself. You can also sleep between trucks. Indonesia is mostly a road in poor condition, surrounded by a fence. There are almost no empty spaces.

On Bali we met Jola. We spent two days together. It was intense.

We bought two and a half liter of local vodka – here known as arak – for the so called ‘rainy days’. We were having a great time talking and visiting a really nice beach.

Bali surprised us yet again. You can always complain that it is like an open-air museum or that it has become commercialized. In our opinion, however, it is worth spending some time here, visiting local market places, observing everyday life or just going to the beach.

The island is mostly inhabited by Hindu people practicing Dharma.

We spent five hours on the ferry from Bali to Lombok. At six in the morning we drove in the ship and a moment later we were sleeping in our house on wheels.

Lombok is the island of mosques and obese women wearing colorful sarongs. The light is different, and there are, of course, the Sasak people.

It was early morning yesterday when we went to the market in Sengkol. We bought some moringa seeds, which we boiled and ate the next day, as well as two large octopuses, a kilogram of flat, grey fish and a kilogram of filleted barracuda.

The place was really interesting, but it was difficult to buy something at local prices.

Today we are playing house and cooking. We are staying at the land belonging to Peter and Arun, who are building a house here.

We feel great. We are sleeping in our house on wheels and taking water from our neighbor. The light is provided by our magic solar battery, charged during the day. Coconuts fall from palm trees and monkeys eat up our fruit at night.

We keep going to the beach where the sun is burning. Under the influence of the moon, the sea is raging.

Yesterday, some fishermen lost a boat on their way back from fishing. The sea is mighty and it is not to be trifled with.

In the evenings we are walking around like Adam and Eve, but no one can see us here. It is warm and the sky is lit up by the Milky Way. Palm trees turn grey and stars glisten just like in Poland during a frosty night. We have not encountered animists yet, but soon we are heading east.

Meanwhile, there is Ramadan and so both during the day, and particularly at night, we are listening to some traditional songs. The repertoire seems to be exactly the same every single day, which becomes a bit monotonous. It sounds like a lament that metaphysically puts you in the right mood from dusk to dawn.