When I tell people that I come from Sumbawa, they always tell me that they imagine I live in a densely wooded area. I also get jokes like “Jadi kayak Laskar Pelangi?” or “Beta sonde pernah terlambat lagi,” the latter coming from the Aqua ads. After some time, I stop explaining to them and just laugh it off. So what my hometown’s like? Here’s a glimpse of my hometown, all photos were taken from my last trip there in November 2012. I stayed there for 2 weeks and went to all my favorite places, over and over again (because it’s such a small town that you can go anywhere in mere 10 minutes, on foot). So here’s a list of my favorite places, the places I regularly visited during my 5 years there, from 2000-2005.
Went here five days a week, sometimes six. This school is nothing like the others, and has something so familiar that you’ll miss when you’re on holiday. My favorite place? Of course the library. It’s quiet, peaceful, and has this wonderful books smell that I find can be so calming. It also has rugs with pillows, apart from the tables and chairs. The collection is to die for. I can find lots of my favorite novels and kids books in here. And being in a school, of course most of my time was spent in the classroom. I’m lucky that I could visit this school whenever I wanted on the last trip, even though I was practically an outsider. Another place where my friends and I used to hang out in was the music room. Back in my days, it wasn’t as good as the picture below. Now it’s sound-proofed and more spacious, with more instruments. Another favorite thing, the back of the school. It’s green and airy, with tennis courts and lunch area (not seen in the picture below).
2. Sports Hall
I’ve never been a sport person, but I used to go to this place so often, at least once a week (since my class only had 6 students, it was kinda hard to play outdoor sports in PE). And on Saturday night, my friends (sometimes) succeeded in dragging me here to play some basketball. What I like about this place is that it’s airy, unlike most sports halls. Again, the PE teacher (my former PE teacher!) allowed me to get into his class and watch them. And it made me feel nostalgic, knowing that he still asked the students to run 3 laps for warming up. Right on the back of the hall is a field. This field is often used for practice when there’s a soccer or baseball league. And once in a while, there are bazaars held in here. Being in a secluded area with nowhere to do fancy shopping, a bazaar can be so exciting, and cheap.
3. Big Oval
This is actually a running track. And no, I’ve never been a runner. But being on the flag hoisting team for Indonesian Independence Day (which was always held here) for four years, this place has such memories.
4. Basai Ate
The place of heavenly dishes (and bars, for the guys. And being a bar, it has Foosball, darts, and billiards). On Wednesday nights they hold Pizza Night. Only US$4 dollars for each pizza or spaghetti, with your own choice of topping. I still can’t find another pizza that can beat this one. Not Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Izzi Pizza, or anything else. And on Friday nights, they hold barbecue night, only (again) US$4 for all-you-can-eat. The best thing? The steak. It’s big, juicy, and delicious. You can get as many as you want with only 4 bucks. And again, I still haven’t found steaks that can beat this one. Next to this place is a golf course. I wasn’t a golf player, but I liked walking on the grass at night. Just be extra careful, or you’ll find toads on your foot.
Being the only mini market in town, this is such a busy place. I used to go here just to buy odds and ends and rent VCDs (how old that was?). It also sells imported goods (like cereals!), wine, etc. One more thing, this mini market sells the most delicious doughnut and — this is the cherry on top — it’s super cheap.
6. Swimming Pool
Right behind the Commissary is the one and only swimming pool here. If you take a shortcut through the wooded area, you’ll get here in less than 5 minutes. Don’t forget your badge or they won’t let you in. There are 3 pools here, the big one (the depth on one side is around 1.5 meters (I don’t know for sure, but the water is up until my chest) and 5 meters on the other), the medium pool (the water is up until my waist, so maybe half a meter?), and the infant pool (lower than my knees, for sure). The pictures below show the big and medium pool. Right behind the medium pool is a tennis court. I don’t really like swimming, but there’s one thing I always say yes to: a night swim! With all the lighting, this place is gorgeous at night.
7. Community Hall
Across the street behind the tennis court stands a single building, the Community Hall. I looove this place. Lots of events here, hence, lots of memories. Halloween party, talent show, graduation, and many more. Since this building is always locked unless there’s an event on going, I didn’t get in the last time I visited it.
There are at least 2 playgrounds in every residential area. The pictures below is one of the playground near my (former) house. Actually, there’s another playground literally right beside my house, but I didn’t take pictures of it (why, Dix? Why?), so these are all I got.
9. My House
Of course I spent most of my time here. There’s nothing special about it though, except that it’s bordered with… a jungle. My backyard often got visitors like pigs, snakes, reptiles, toads, and most often, monkeys. No kidding. When my parents told me to be careful whenever I wanted to get out, they meant it literally when they said, “It’s a jungle out there!” Nonetheless, it was a very nice home in a great area. Thanks to the jungle behind my house, I had the luxury of smelling the fresh soil scent every morning, with birds chirping in the background. I went there on my last visit, but was unable to get a good picture because the new residents had grown this tall pines (almost as tall as the roof!) around their house so it wasn’t visible to the outsiders, including me, the former resident. So I just took pictures of the house I lived in during my visit, my teacher’s house. It’s really the same type with mine, and the area is only slightly different, being only 5 minutes away by walking.
Here’s a glimpse of one residential area. It happens to be steep, as are some areas, but the rest is level. All residential areas are like this, more or less.
10. The streets
Here comes the number 10. Not a particular place, but since I passed these streets so often, I decided to put it on the list. When I lived here, I practically walked anywhere, despite the scorching sun (hence, my dark skin). Night walk was also my favorite. Refreshing and calming, with magnificent view as a bonus. Just be careful for an encounter with either pigs, snakes, reptiles, or monkeys. Here’s some of my favorite routes.
Oh, how much I miss those places. Fingers crossed for going there again, someday.