I slept for 10 solid hours on my first night in Cirebon. Ten. Solid. Hours. Without once waking up. Not even to pee and go back to bed. Seriously. I fell asleep at around 6:30 pm on Friday evening and I awoke just after 4:30 am on Saturday morning. I have never been a 10-hour sleeper; that is not normal for me. But this was the sleep I had been craving, the sleep that I now only get when I’m away from the centre.
I had gone to sleep lying as one usually does in bed, with my head at the top and my feet pointed towards the bottom. But my sleep was so heavy and the bed was so big that I woke up lying horizontally across it, with neither my feet nor my head hanging off. The pillows were lovely and soft and perfect for hugging. So that’s how I woke up on Saturday morning – hugging 1 of those lovely soft pillows and lying horizontally across that lovely big mattress.
I had only 3 items on the day’s agenda: shopping, another movie and writing. I’m a big fan of action movies (hence me watching Jack Reacher the day before). One big plus of living in Southeast Asia is that lots of western movies release here before they do in the west. Dr. Strange, the latest Marvel movie, is 1 of those. I had decided to see it in Cirebon because the theatre was walking distance from my hotel and the movie ticket price was half the price of the movie theatres I frequent in Jakarta. But first, shopping.
I went through my usual morning routine, had the usual mediocre hotel breakfast and asked the receptionist at the front desk if she could help me with a cab to the batik shopping district (Batik! Shopping! Yay!). On the previous afternoon, she had recommended which store I should go to buy the material I wanted and since it was exactly the same store that the local volunteer back in Jakarta had recommended, I accepted the receptionist’s suggestion. So that’s where my driver, Hadi, and I headed. It was a 15 minute drive from the hotel and we chatted in English and Indonesian along the way. Hadi seemed to think that my Indonesian is pretty good but I know better. Still, his English wasn’t bad at all and it was nice chatting to him as we drove.
We arrived at Batik Trusmi, apparently the place to buy batik in Cirebon, at around 9 am. I expected to spend no more than 30 minutes there so I asked Hadi to wait for me. The store was large and well laid out, with all the expensive batiks right up front. I had a little bit of sticker shock when I first started looking at the material because the price for 1 piece was about 6 times what I was expecting based on my conversation with the local volunteer back in Jakarta. But as I drifted more towards the middle of the store, I found beautiful pieces that were in my price range and I ended up spending a very fast one hour in the store. I would have spent a little more time but a bus load of local tourists invaded the place and since I already had what I went there for, I decided that it was time to go. I had Hadi drop me off at the mall near my hotel and we said our goodbyes.
I watched the movie (I didn’t love it but I loved Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange – I hope he and Iron Man appear in a movie soon, the snark levels would be off the charts), bought some dinner to-go from 1 of the restaurants in the food court, and made my way back to my hotel room under an overcast sky. As I ate, rain started pouring down and I laughed a little in wonder and happiness as I watched it out the window. Eventually, I settled down to get some writing done but I was distracted by my Whatsapp, which was blowing up about some work issues (more on that in a couple of days) so I only managed to pound out a rough draft of one post before sleep overcame me. I went to bed at around 9 pm.
My second day in Cirebon went much the same as the first had gone, unexciting and consisting of shopping, a movie and more rain. Also, lots of sleep. But, again, it was perfectly perfect for me.