Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ubud Readers and Writers Festival: Chaotic Host

This is why they shouldn't have appointed a humor writer as the ghost host: things never go well with one.

The first day I arrived here, I've already made two classic travel mistakes:

  1. I forgot to adjust my watch

  2. So when I finished examining the programme schedule and decided to rent a mountain bike to scout around, I realized that fact a bit too late. The clock showed five past four. And it was one hour late. While the gala festival opening was scheduled at five o'clock.

    To put it short: whoever made the world record of changing clothes--I've beaten you down.

  3. When I asked one of the locals for directions to Ubud Place--where the gala would be--she pointed right and said, "Just go straight. It's near." And I actually believed her.

  4. Apparently, the concept of "near" around Ubud is between 100 meters and 100 gazillion kilometers. By the time I arrived there, I already qualified as an olympic torch-bearer.

So much for ghost host. It didn't help that when I got there, I knew practically nobody. And for the next half an hour, I'd only been successful at being the first part of the phrase. A ghost.

Luckily, I met Kam Raslan, who had the grace to put on his nametag. So I didn't have to make a fool of myself by greeting, "Hi, Kim!" He also brought his lovely wife, who apparently didn't have a nametag--so I'll refrain from referring her name in this post.

I told him my story and he asked a genuine question, "So where do you stay?"

"Uhhh," I blanked out. "I actually forgot."

"So how will you return there?" he asked in amazement.

"Well, it is 'near'," I said, laughing.

And once again, I had to eat those words. Because I had been secretly hoping that I could find the inn by its characteristics. It looks just like a small inn from outside, but next to the entrance, there's a car passage that leads to a broader area.

Apparently, ALL inns at Monkey Forest Ubud are like that. So I got lost. I couldn't find it. And lo and behold, I found this internet cafe' instead. So as a professional humor writer, I did what I should: asking for help online.

HELP! Please inform the committee that I'm lost around Monkey Forest Ubud street. And if they spot a trail of sweat, I must be near.


Ecky said...

Hi Isman,

It's kinda too late to write comment here but I was there on the gala opening at Ubud Palace, brand I'm handling is one of the silver sponsor for Ubud Writer's and reader's festival. And I was stayed at one of the inn in Money Forest street too!

But I agree with you, Baliness have different concept with us Jakartan about how far is "near". 30 minutes or 5 km walk still consider as near for Baliness :)

isman said...

Hi, Ecky. Maybe you should propose to the UWRF committee, that next year they should form the sponsor list into a single poem.

It'll be a lot more entertaining (not to mention catchy) to watch them rhyming brand names.