Friday, 3 July 2009

Paradise Found . . .

They say that at a certain point in time, you wake up and feel that it is the first day of your life, at least a new life that is . . . recently, I have felt shaken AND stirred about changes in me and around me, what I have seen and want to see etc, thus past, reality and future have all converged but I do not know yet how it all joins up?! 

It is clearer now, thank HEAVENS and yes, life is beautiful and carpe diem. Yet to think back over the last few months - the journey to here, well, it's been pretty crazy really and definitely varied.
In my case, it has been about experiences and exposure to the most inspiring things, A LOT of Art, a lot of DESIGN and just as many people and parties. . . 

Yet, things really started to change when I did something which was really completely out of whack with what I normally would do and as far from the water taxis of Venice or the Collector's lounge at Art Basel as one could imagine . . . yet, I know that it was this one month which pretty much changed it all and brought me to where I am now. . .nowhere much really, but happy nonetheless. . 

I was the Creative Director of a brand called Nsha which I started with my childhood friend, I loved what I did, but at a certain point I also realised that there are certain things that you start that you must finish and certain things you must do to retain integrity.  In my case it was my PhD that I started 4 years ago titled Intellectual Property and the Textiles Industry in Developing Countries.  I needed to take time off to write and to think of a Plan B if nsha was not able to accommadate my need to be free from the structure and restraints of a label which was part of a bigger corporate entity.  So I embarked to the island of Sumba, to East Sumba, the most easterly island of Indonesia where I intended to write and surf (more on this later)  . . . it was wonderful.

I went down with Hamish (Hammie) to stay with his father in East Sumba . . .

Our supplies - yes, for only the 2 of us, the porters were intrigued with the spear gun.

Me getting on the plane with a pink backpack filled with more supplies!

En Route to Kalala

The children of the Kingdom of Rende

The road to Kalala


In the 5 days that Hammie stayed in Sumba before jetting back to work, I was showed the ropes to wilderness and adventure.  

Lazy water buffalo just chillin


My favourite headland with Fred the palmtree

Hammie and I

Hammie and I in the savannah
Part of the exploring and adventure package included fishing - it was my first time . . .

On the way to the boat

Like father, like son

and again

Full moon over the water

Our dinner, which ended up first being stuck down my t-shirt

Hammie finally left, leaving me with David Wyllie - his father, a real life Indiana Jones and a truly inspiring man indeed. 

 David Wyllie

Not only did he remember me from when I was 8 years old in Jakarta where Hammie and I went to school together till we were 11 but he is also a legendary surfer amongst other things but conveniently a gourmet chef as well as an expert on Sumba Ikat, perfect for my thesis.  

An Sumba Ikat textile piece

I miss listening to him recount his stories and tell me when little Thai surfer girl (moi) could hit the waves and where exactly would be good for my amaturishness .  Of course there were other characters around, like Hammie's hermit crab Pippa and my adopted puppy, Puppy, 

My beloved Puppy

and some friends of the Wyllie's came down at the end of my stay - they were great. They were surfers, so I learnt a few things or two and a lawyer, which gives me some hope.  My book of the week was Love in the Time of Cholera, perfect for that mood actually, the colours fit together well, slow, hazy and romantic,  

Puppy and I

I fell in love with East Sumba, it is my paradise and opened my eyes to a world that really is beyond my own, no doubt I will be going back there soon, esp when Puppy is there, there is lobster overload and of course perfect waves and surfing with dolphins (!). 

Oh and not to mention the most sublime, unreal, beyond one's imagination sunsets . . .EVERY SINGLE DAY.


So it was back to Bali after Sumba, the thing I appreciated the most was the hot shower that first afternoon. East Sumba is bliss for its simplicity, electricity available via generator only, thus enough for the 400 channel cable TV at night and to charge my laptop and phone for the next day, no running water so a clay well in the bathing shacking where cold fresh water has been kept for bathing after a day in the sun, fresh fish, fresh lamb, fresh avocados . . .

3 boys on the beach

Solitary rider - a rare site

The King of Sabu's village performed a dance for Hammie and I

I don't think they thought I would last - after all, I am scared of the dark, hate bugs, have a phobia of geckos . . . the odds were against me yet, I think about it now everyday, the waves, the air and the stillness which gave me a level of concentration and inspiration unequal to anything I have ever felt.

Lone palm tree at sunrise en route to airport

After 2 whole weeks in East Sumba, Bali, island as it is, did not seem so tranquil even though Hammie does only takes me to the best places and that first hot shower was heaven(!).  Although waking up at 5 am to catch the surf was not my idea of fun pre-Bali/Sumba trip,  I must admit it was pretty magical, sun rising over the water, the light, no people! 

sunrise in Bali 

surf break

It was pretty awesome, and we managed to eat yummy food everyday and do fun things EVERYDAY.  Did I mention that Hammie is not just a surfer boy who eats bananas all day but he also the design director of a local design company and is Creative Director of his family's 20 year old furniture company that does everything from wood, to resin, to steel to bamboo pieces.  

 The surfer

The designer

Can I mention again that I ate really yummy food? 

Warung Tugu

the Tugu was definitely a treat - they cooked especially for us, just Hammie and I,
ribs and martinis

and so was Naughty Nuri's for the ribs and the martinis, to this day I am not sure if it was the food or the jump into the river in Ubud which was better - nonetheless it was magical . . .we stayed that night in Ubud with Arief, Hammie's friend at the most enchanting River House . . .Arief is great, so much energy so much knowledge and I am sure will follow his mum's (known as the Queen of bamboo) footsteps to become the King of bamboo.  

Finally time to go back to Thailand, my last night in Bali was in the Bukit at Sayan's house where the horizon went on forever and clouds were alive. . . 

clouds and the sky from Sayan's

It was very final in a way, I felt sad for some reason, thank goodness I had Lynn in Singapore who I would stop over to see for 12 hrs. . .and I kid you not, sounds stupid but I remember saying, "Lynn, gimme some heels to wear, I need to know that I can still wear heels" . . and that was one night in Singapore where I was clearly the darkest girl on the block, yes, a month on an island will do that to you.

So I did find my own personal paradise - it seems lost again for now but I know it is still there for me . .. . 

1 comment:

  1. great ,,, i love this Sumba Island ,,,,, i hope i go to there ,,,, especially Kalala ,,,,