i’m home again … in ambon!

leaving beloved amboina past few decades, finally i am able to make my home coming. flabbergasted that i missed so many things as the years goes by. i used to live in secluded-tranquil-leafy bay overlooking the hills and this moment i have to “jump” on honking roads, blaring and blasting motorbikes and cars in the city centre.

sunset over leihitu peninsula (c) ukirsari 2012

Continue reading “i’m home again … in ambon!”


a personal achievement, a spatial consciousness

listed amongst my favourites or hobbies is reading. can spend this activity whilst i am in the plane, catch the next flight, rainy days and awaiting my beloved one back from abroad. frankly speaking, my choice mostly travel guide books and its maps. therefore, mapping and recognizing processes already done in my mind, long before i do travel or even decided to go. i do enjoy  learn and getting excited in finding information through the map and explanation (culture, nature and architectural mostly), as high as the value of doing travel itself. even can not be generalized like pictures, for me personally, a map telling a rich story and a spatial consciousness.

taking aback to this enjoyment of mapping and reading, comments from some fellows that pretty familiar in my ears;  “so, this will be your next destination, uh?” and same answer all the time, “not like that, i am learning about spatial consciousness in the destinations.”

and it’s really work when i go travel. i like to do check and re-check the interesting points that mentioned by map and if i find brand new thing or kind differences, i’ll make a note. and write to the publisher in the way to updating. so far i do some and got nicely reply from them. this is what I found recently. my name’s mentioned in the readers’ letter in the rough guide hongkong and macau 2009.   my heartfelt thank goes to rough guide (RG) and i share this personal achievement for my beloved parents and nicholas. i love you!

a wonderful person, an evening at royal albert hall

long time ago, i have favourite couple friends; jachan (italian) and cathy (american) who decided to set up brand new  life in italy. and the simplest way for jachan to address his beloved one is “a wonderful person“. i tried to understand what is the deepest meaning in that affectionate way to tell people about cathy, until i feel the same about someone who i love very much.

it was around a week before september 24th, when nicholas told me about reduction ticket  price  for classic fm live in royal albert hall. unfortunately, it’s not side-by-side’s seat. but one farthest to the other. all i can say, “just wait. if there’s our karma, it will be ours.”

i don’t know exactly what he did, until he tells me happily. “yes, confirmed. two seats for both of  us, side by side. mum and dad will attend the event too.” maybe just a coincident, but it’s something nice for me. even four of us will be seated per couple. not all in the same row. and our tickets are cheaper compared theirs for sure 🙂

during the event, my heart is burst of happiness. it’s a great classic concert, with solo violist sarah chang –a prodigy when she’s 6 years old playing solo– and the priests –tree tenors– on stage. i hold his hand tight. probably very tight. this is the first time i am going to see a classic concert, after my dad and my violin master passed away.

at that night, i can feel the term ‘wonderful person’ in the beautiful way. not copy from janchan, but understand it completely. not only about nicholas as  my beloved one. but the way he knowing me and to understand. he’s not complaint about i leave my violin class. only once asked “why?” and i try to answer, “when i decided to learn violin, i tied my heart to the instrument and the person who teach me. when he’s away, i feel something not complete. maybe i’m too childish, but i am sure, none of the new master can do his or her best as my master did.”

and another sentimental reason, of course my dad. who always encourage me to play. i remember his company to find a nice violin 3/4 when i am young. then 4/4 scale when i turn adult. he’s so touched when i buy a new violin with my own money after back from japan, 10 years ago. i address my newest violin as “tonska” [taken from russian nickname for ‘anton’ since mine is an anton breton’s product, made in 1979].

nicholas show me the reality. day will be following by another day. so its life. my beloved dad and violin master may go, but the essence of beauty still remain. about listening violin. something that i do really love before. something that connecting my life with my dearly dad and my violin master, pak le.

i love the concert from the beginning. when the choir singing carmina burana. when the priests is singing pie jesu. when the fireworks spreading behind the pillars. i know my dad smiles … somewhere, out there. and i love you nicholas, being a wonderful person for me. ich liebe dich!

Veris dulcis in tempore, florenti stat sub arbore
Iuliana cum sorore.
Dulcis amor!
Refl. Qui te caret hoc tempore, Fit vilior.

Ecce florescunt arbores, lascive canunt volucres;
inde tepescunt virgines.
Dulcis amor!
Refl. Qui te caret hoc tempore,Fit vilior.

Ecce florescunt lilia,et virginum dant agmina
summo deorum carmina.
Dulcis amor!
Refl. Qui te caret hoc tempore,Fit vilior.

Si tenerem, quam cupio,in nemore sub folio,
oscularer cum gaudio.
Dulcis amor!
Refl. Qui te caret hoc tempore, Fit vilior *

* carmina burana

things to be done in battle

(c) ukirsari

* pampering yourself in the ‘city of 1066’

battle is a small, compact and lively city that can be explored in a day trip. take a nice walk along the historical trail of the city. including pay a visit to st valery sur somme church and its gorgeous cemetery. then small paths will lead you to the flower shops and small church of st francis. otherwise, do trekking to pevensey and rye country walks of 1066 to commemorate battle of hastings.

* battle abbey

half ruins of an abbey that not be used anymore in the reign of king henry viii. here still can be found the novice monks chamber, the main building that facing to the 1066 battle field, surrounded by oak trees and several private school which remains us to … harry potter’s hogwart 🙂

* ye olde king’s head: an old pub at battle

we found this nice pub when we wander around the city of battle in the evening. the door looks very low. a friend of us, assumed it might be caused … long time ago, whilst the pub is busy, they still have to keep an eye for the enemies who try to attack locals whilst riding a horse. with this lowermost door, the riding horses enemies will find it difficult to enter. favorite dish: cider ale and smoked beef sandwiches. address: 37 mount street, battle, east sussex

battle, east sussex

Angin mendesir di antara dedaun pepohonan english oak (Quercus pedunculata) berwarna keemasan. Menciptakan riap-riap gelombang warna musim gugur nan apik. Hijau tua semu kuning, kekuningan mengarah cokelat muda sampai cokelat matang cenderung oranye karena disaput sinar matahari. Kami berjalan melintas dekat sebuah private school dalam kompleks Battle Abbey. Musim gugur kali ini terasa beda dibanding yang lalu, langit biru cerah tanpa awan kelabu.

(c) ukirsari

Dari dalam sebuah gedung yang tersusun dari batu-batu tebal peninggalan masa silam, samar terdengar paduan suara anak-anak perempuan usia belasan. Plaisir d’Amour, sebuah lagu cinta klasik berbahasa Perancis karya Jean Paul Égide Martini (1741-1816).

Ingatan saya melayang pada salah satu episode Band of Brothers –mini seri kisah tentara penerjun para (paratrooper) Amerika Serikat semasa Perang Dunia II yang dikirim ke pantai-pantai Normandia, Perancis (Omaha Beach dan Utah Beach) dalam penyerbuan berkode ‘Operation Overlord’ melawan pasukan Jerman.

Saat itu –dengan narasi Sersan Carwood Lipton– adalah suatu malam, di mana untuk pertama kalinya pasukan para Amerika Serikat dapat menginap dalam sebuah kompleks gereja, setelah menghabiskan musim dingin berminggu-minggu di pegunungan Ardennes dan Foy. Mereka dihibur paduan suara putri gereja (choir) dengan Plaisir d’Amour.

Lantas Sersan Lipton (yang kemudian mendapat penghargaan kenaikan pangkat menjadi letnan dua) mengucap, betapa sebuah peperangan telah ‘mengambil’ teman-temannya satu peleton. Mulai dari kematian Muck dan Penkala, lalu sepasang sahabat sama-sama kehilangan anggota tubuh mereka; Joe Toye dan Bill Guarnere, sampai Letnan Satu Buck Compton yang mengalami depresi. Ia tak dapat melanjutkan misi sebagai anggota pasukan para, setelah mendapati Toye dan Guarnere meregang sakit di tengah salju, dalam bombardir hujan peluru dan bom pihak musuh.

Tanah tempat kami berpijak saat itu, punya riwayat serupa lereng-lereng pegunungan Ardennes (Belgia) di mini seri Band of Brothers. Juga tak banyak berbeda dengan semua tempat di berbagai penjuru dunia yang menjadi medan peperangan.

Sebuah saksi bisu berupa lahan terbuka diraupi kucuran darah, teriakan heroik serta dibalur semangat patriotisme pihak-pihak pelaku perang. Meninggalkan kepiluan bagi siapa saja yang menyimak babakan selanjutnya. Bahkan, terasa begitu ironis bila disandingkan dengan lagu Plaisir d’Amour.

Kami beruntung karena bertandang ke Battle di hari menjelang peringatan Battle of Hastings. Beberapa tenda bertuliskan English Heritage siap seputar padang rumput. Konon, tempat ini tak disentuh selama berabad-abad, dibiarkan sebagaimana saat pertempuran berlangsung di masa lalu, pada 14 Oktober 1066. Sementara beberapa calon pengisi acara mondar-mandir dengan pakaian perang abad pertengahan. Selintas mengingatkan kami pada komik Perancis, Asterix dan Obelix.

Pada bagian bahu beberapa orang ini, tersampir rubah terbuat dari kain dan bulu-buluan palsu. Sebastien, salah satu dari mereka yang berpakaian pasukan Norman menyebut, dua hari mendatang mereka akan menggelar semacam rekonstruksi peperangan akbar kedua belah pihak, yaitu bangsa Norman dan Anglo-Saxon.

“Jangan bayangkan terlalu serius,” ujarnya sembari menyantap keju yang diambil dari salah satu tenda. “Sama sekali tak ada unsur kekerasan karena panah dan tombak terbuat dari karet. Dan pada hari-hari itu kami juga menerima kunjungan dari kerabat jauh yang sengaja datang dari Perancis. Saya sendiri bukan penduduk asli Battle, tapi senang tinggal di sini pada bulan-bulan menjelang peringatan Battle of Hastings

(c) ukirsari

Nama Battle sebagai kota, dibuat sebagai peringatan pascapeperangan Battle of Hastings yang terjadi pada 14 Oktober 1066. Satu babakan sejarah dituntaskan pada tanggal itu, yaitu saat bangsa Anglo-Saxon (Inggris) mesti berbesar hati menerima kekalahan dari serbuan orang-orang Norman (Perancis).

Tapi di sisi lain, sejarah baru Britania Raya tercipta, dengan terjadinya akulturasi budaya bersama masyarakat Perancis serta negeri-negeri lain di Eropa daratan. Tidak lagi terisolasi dan sebatas membina hubungan dengan negeri-negeri Skandinavia.

Battle sendiri, kini masuk wilayah distrik Rother di East Sussex, England dan berjarak sekitar 79 km dari London. Letaknya diapit beberapa kota tetangga, seperti Bexhill-On-Sea (selatan), Hastings (tenggara), serta Brighton dan Lewes (timur). Populasi penduduk Battle mencapai 6.171 orang berdasar sensus 2007.

Sebagai kota tujuan wisata, Battle menawarkan rekreasi kota tua, gedung bersejarah dan trail napak tilas peperangan akbar antara kaum Norman dan Anglo-Saxon. Rutenya beragam, situs orisinal yang melingkupi Battle Abbey dan medan peperangan Battle of Hastings, sampai lintasan jalan kaki ke luar kota yang merefleksikan perjalanan panjang pasukan Norman masuk ke area ini, melewati estuaria dan tepi lautan.

Pengunjung dengan mudah bisa menemukan beberapa rute, setelah membaca papan penunjuk jalan dekat Battle Abbey; 1066 Country Walk – Pevensey atau 1066 Country Walk – Rye.

Musim gugur ini, kami memilih napak tilas Battle of Hastings. Dari lahan parkir dekat lingkungan bekas gereja Battle Abbey, kami menjejakkan kaki ke Gatehouse –gerbang kompleks gereja– dan membayar retribusi masuk. Berlanjut ke bangunan paling depan dari kompleks, dinamai Abbey Shop.

Di sinilah tempat para wisatawan berbelanja cendera mata sebelum melanjutkan perjalanan ke berbagai situs sejarah kota Battle. Paling diminati, semacam koran bertajuk utama ‘Battle: 1066’. Berisi berita dan gambar historis Battle Abbey dan Battle of Hastings.

Koleksi lainnya, kaos warna kecokelatan bergambar pertempuran antara Raja Harold II dan Raja William sang Penakluk dalam Battle of Hastings, dibubuhi aksara Latin. Adegan itu dicuplik dari Bayeux Tapestry, sebuah sulaman panjang 70 m x lebar 50 cm yang dibuat untuk menggambarkan kemenangan kaum Norman dalam upaya pendudukan England.

Sulamannya sendiri, kini disimpan di Bayeux, Normandia, Perancis. Sedang imitasinya berada di Reading, Berkshire, England. Pada Juni 2007, Bayeux Tapestry ditahbiskan sebagai ‘Memory of World Register’ dari badan dunia UNESCO.

Battle Abbey merupakan gereja yang dibuat Raja William the Conqueror di kota kecil Battle. Sebuah sumber menyebut, pembangunan ini merupakan permintaan Paus Alexander II pada 1070 kepada kaum Norman, yang telah membunuh begitu banyak orang dalam upaya penaklukkan di England –bagian dari Britania atau Inggris Raya. Sebuah negeri yang terdiri atas England, Skotlandia, Wales dan Irlandia Utara.

Sedang informasi lain menyatakan, Battle Abbey hadir sebagai pemenuhan atas janji Raja William sendiri, yang ia ucapkan di gereja St Valery sur Somme Abbey (Normandia), sebelum menyeberang Selat Inggris.

Setelah ‘masa pembubaran biara’ zaman pemerintahan Raja Henry VIII, Battle Abbey dijadikan rumah pribadi. Sir Thomas Webster, baron pertama klan Webster, membeli Battle Abbey pada 1719. Klan ini memilikinya hingga 1858, lalu dijual pada Lord Harry Vane, Duke of Cleveland.

Kepemilikan berlangsung hingga 1901, kemudian dialihkan kepada Sir Augustus Webster, baron ketujuh dalam silsilah klan Webster. Fungsi sebagai wahana religi pun berubah. Bekas gereja ini pernah menjadi sekolah putri berasrama, juga pangkalan tentara Kanada selama Perang Dunia II.

Mulai 1976, Battle Abbey resmi menjadi milik pemerintah Inggris dan sekarang menjadi bagian dari badan English Heritage.

Tak jauh dari kompleks gereja, terdapat prasasti peringatan Raja Harold yang diberikan pihak Perancis pada 1903. Seolah bukti kedua negara tak ingin berseteru setelah peperangan Battle of Hastings berakhir, di sana tertera Diex Aie … le brave Harold le Saxon … a’la Grańde Bretagnela Loi Normande. Lantas di belakangnya, pepohonan perdu berderet rapat dan dipangkas rapi. Dibentuk mirip lorong-lorong hijau yang meneduhkan jiwa, selagi kaki melangkah menyusurinya.

>> under the thousand stars <<

“sweetheart, have a look. there’s thousand stars above us,” my beloved ones showing the evening landscape in front of us. it’s a bright lovely evening sky within a national park.

(c) ukirsari, 2009

we are holding hands to each other, walking through the grassy path. companied by jaka, our slovenian friend. a neighbour at the guest house. a huge landscape, brings my memory back to loksado, in one of a kalimantan forest, where i feel the night sky was  so close upon my face and i can catch one of those stars with my fingers.

i did a night trekking with a local guide and his companions at that moment. and every single moment, he need to tell me for keep walking, or i will miss the jujuran and beruji ceremonial events.

i was too ‘busy’. to feel how can a billion stars comes out at the same time in one night. blinking in the distance and showering us with dims light. then phosphorous mushrooms on the trees and the fireflies. that’s a magical experience for me.

and now, i feel quite the same. without any additional phosphorous things. only three of us, under a grandiose sky with the thousand stars.

within walking distance, we can see the shadows of the sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatrensis). nicholas and i are falling in love with this place, since we find our baby boy here; a two months old elephant in 2006.

and we became repeat visitors ever since. especially when we find a wild baby girl afterwards –oh, doesn’t mean to forget to mention, there’s another elder baby girl in the community. but since she looks so berserk, we never befriend with her. we knew her and the opposite. after a baby boy and baby girl, they have a new tamed ‘sibling’.

a baby boy again, to whom we gave a ‘special’ name, since we don’t like his real name. sounds not so gorgeous, bearing only an event something. and just like the previous babies, we love to cuddle him and playing all day long. he’s so lovely and a giver; bring reeds to nicholas, allow us to hear his funny voice, then hiding behind the bush.

in our latest visit, two mother elephants just gave births. two wonderful baby boys. but we have to say goodbye after few days visit, as we have to back for works. and in the meantime, we want to share this happiness –being having new babies— and play with them, whilst introducing them to our neighbour; jaka.

it’s a real joyful playing under the thousand stars. especially nicholas who  ‘attacked’ by our baby boy –not the eldest since he’s stay overnight in the forest with his mom and dad.

later we think; probably since his nature as nocturnal, everything looks brighter in the dark. and another ‘theory’, he didn’t like being addressed by his real name. we can not help but smile, when he try to tackle jaka with his back feet. nicholas said, “turn around, turn around,” but our baby is faster than him.

i watch the mom who look after her baby boy with the torch on. then talk  to our baby girl, since she’s not interesting to do crazy with us but keep on busy grassing all the time.  well behave. a strange concept for a wild. but probably she just need to spend longer time to adapt with her new ‘family’ after spend such two years by her own and the keeper or mahout. so i ‘talk’ with her, whilst nicholas and jaka keep on playing with the baby boy.

then time to say goodbye had came. we whispering that we love them and we definitely will come back again. and our baby boy, again and again … coming closer and closer, just like unspoken words, “oh please don’t go. come, i want to play again,” so we have to bring him closer to his mom. several times, until we say, “come on, that’s mommy calling, come on ….”

we walk to the mahouts’ barrack and spend about an hour or so, talking with them. down-to-earth people, language barriers and things that drive me into situation; nothing wrong with the keepers and so does the travelers. only system screw up humanitarian sometimes, somehow.

we knew jaka by coincidence, when the officers find a difficulty to explain the room rate. but what choice he can get, if the option only take it or leave it?

nicholas and i get difficultness as jaka had, since long time ago. a place can be so helpful, and the rest full of mess.

and i feel sorry since we’re talking about a motherland, place where i was born. i love the country, where my ancestors shared their bloods and i get a wonderful name. the first air i had taken in breathing and i spend half of my childhood. but please, why erase those wonderful things, including nature wonders and its rare animals by something calling damages? bad behaviours, mannerless, disobey etiquettes and money talks all included. so sad.

of course i don’t want to ruins our last day in the national park with those stupidities and cynical point of views. we chill out at the night and thank jaka for his appearance as the only neighbour we have.

especially to swap the creepy atmosphere which surrounded guest house, after someone passed away about 2 months ago –and it’s not pretty far from our place.

we shared so many stories, independent travelers’ stories. and we’re surprised how can be we got 100% same-identical scams that jaka and nicholas experienced when they’re in jogja; i can not stop laugh since their visit separatedly  almost 10 years in difference but both got the same sweet lips saying, “it must be your lucky day, we will make a batik exhibition in the usa and this is the last day you can buy their art work.”

we got dinner with cakes [nicholas and i. we like to say thank for our old food seller who always provided these cake for us] and fried rice, tomato and cucumber [for jaka].

and top notch for this ‘gala dinner’ was sharing our last baileys with jaka. poor that we don’t bring any glasses with us during this trip, so we use mineral water bottle that cut into a half. it’s nice, a serene environment with nocturnal voices from the distance. wild boars, barking deers and buffalos pay a visit to our guest house.

it’s a nice discussion about what should jaka does in his last days before leaving indonesia, and again we laugh for his “smart book” a real mini book content of national anthem, heroes, chemistry, learning language, natural sciences, seven wonders and all kind abstraction about knowledge that indonesian students take in their school.

“so you should keep extra money to buy unpredictable souvenir like my book or quite similar like this during your trip with interstate bus,” he added.

also we compared our rooms; nicholas and i, we’d have ‘presidential suite’. huge, twin beds, one extra bed, hanger, a table and two chairs without electricity. and jaka got ‘superior room’. smaller, twin beds, only one chair but showering with light. we can not help but laugh; you get what you pay for!

then top of the ‘drama’ being addressing our own rooms with presidential and superior was, a frog just jumping in to jaka’s water tank. so he used ours that looks bigger, which locked by nicholas’ padlock whilst we’re away –to prevent the unknown ‘guests’.

three of us keep do chit-chatting until two hours remains from the departure. nicholas and i already packed all our luggage, so we’re easily wake up and preparing ourselves before leaving the guest house in early morning.

we liked our latest experiences in the national park. i see there’s still thousand stars remain when we climb up the main gate –thank you for locking all entrance gates when we told you we’ll leaving very early, officer!

s dniom razendraniya … pozdravlyau …

(c) ukirsari and nicholas ingram

day of days. time ties up.  sunshine and moonlight. walking through the path of life. the longest shorelines i’d ever have.  the highest mountains i can climb up so far. and i am still here. to be loved as to love. with all my heart.

i would like to underlining my personal travels. throughout my whole life. to the universe. from being nothing to be someone. who adore my parents and my beloved ones. they company me all the time. not always by physically presences, but rather into mentally and stay in my heart. that makes my heart blossoming. every single minute and everytime i hold my breath.

as summer has came. as the sky approaching to be truely blue. and the clouds gone away. shower rain sometimes. and i remember how nicholas loves to play with the droplets from above. the laugh and smiles we shared. as we throw away the umbrellas. what it so called? dancing in the rain?  running from bungalow’s kitchen after picked up the christmas pudding? but hey, it was not december, wasn’t it?

i am a summer child by birth, but my habit and behaviour reflecting i am an autumn person –no wonder i love fall season more than others. even so, my parents and everybody who loves me can accept just the way i am. so thankful about that and crossing fingers to give them my best. all the time. full of love.

i just want to say thank you very much and let you know how do i love all of you. papa, mama, nicholas, tone anungseto, saya sayang kamu semua. terima kasih untuk menemani saya di setiap ulang tahun dalam doa.

090609.  wait … isn’t that a great combination number to be owned by me this year? and within next 10 days from mine, it’s the birthday of my favourite hero,  José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda. an enchanting person with many abilities, including speaking in 22 languages, surgeon, painter, sculpturer, poem writer, novelist, opthalmologist. what a treasure for his family, nation and mankind. ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan (rizal himself). and wait a minute … can it be reflected also by aki kaurismäki’s mies vailla menneisyyttä?