We arrived rainy Yogyakarta with the hopes of skipping Ratu Boko. It was only our first flight for this trip and massage, massage, massage was playing in my head on a loop.
Massage. Massage. Massage. Please Pinneng, don’t make us go to Ratu Boko!
You might be wondering why I would choose to skip this archaeological site that is very iconic of Java but I’ve already been. All I wanted was to sleep. The moment we landed, it was announced: our luggage will be in the hotel room waiting for us but we will go straight to Ratu Boko. It was almost 17:30 and it will probably be dark when we arrive.
I remember I don’t really have photos of Ratu Boko so it was probably the best that we pushed through. Before the trip, Ave gave me insider tips that we were going to be around photographers. She adviced not to bring my camera anymore because it’s just going to be an extra load. We will have a lot of people who will take pictures of us but I did not listen. I still brought mine and ended up being useless.
Tat asked me to stand in between the right side columns of the Ratu Boko and jump. I do not know the quality of work this person has but I did as instructed anyway.
I jumped. And jumped. And jumped. And jumped some more.
Until I couldn’t feel my knees. Damn, Influencer work is not as easy as most people think! Imagine, just for one fecking shot, I have to break my tibia, fibula and knee joints! I think about all the people who belittle our work as Influencers and I screamed “what the feck” silently.
Panting, I went to Tat to check the pics on his camera. Man, was I surprised. It was just right that I did not check the Instagram accounts of these people before the trip so I don’t have a pre-judgment but I could’ve stuck together with Tat in an earlier note because he takes fecking amazing pictures. The way the photo was composed and how I looked gracefully (when in fact I really felt like an idiot jumping over and over) leaping like a ballerina, it was stunning! Not to mention it was not even edited yet but hell yes – amazing doesn’t even cover it.
That night, when I was lying in bed browsing my Instagram feed, I got a notification that Jorden and Ave were live on Instagram. Even if Ave is my friend, I don’t really watch her stories (or other people in that matter) because I can’t find the time for it. I get easily bored.
When I clicked “join,” it took me to another level of Influencing – Jorden, and Ave were “live” together in a split screen on Instagram! I did live shows on Facebook and Instagram (some for my very corporate TV shows) but no one told me that this is possible. They were just chatting together, showing their rooms to their shared followers and goofing with the free fruits laid in their hotel rooms.
Apart from the newly acquired Instagram knowledge, I suddenly realized I have underestimated how funny Ave is. In her Youtube videos, Ave does a lot of moves that only Filipinos would understand and tolerate. I must admit, most times, I had no interest in what she’s showing in Youtube but now, by watching her, I understood why she gets 100k views in her videos – she’s so fecking hilarious!
Jorden is effortless. Whatever he is in real life, that’s how he is on his videos. I have never watched any of Jorden’s videos on Youtube but seeing him in this live session gave me a clear idea on how dedicated this person is with his authenticity, as a person, and as an Influencer.
I would write about our painstaking early rise for the Borobudur Temple the next day but we were all moving like zombies and interacted less with each other.
Massage. Massage. Massage. It finally happened.
Ika told me there are a lot of cheap massage spas in the area but after that day, of being 12 hours actively outside, I just can’t be bothered to walk to a spa. I wanted the massage right here, right now. I knew it was going to be expensive to order room service but in my years of traveling, I promised myself not to be cheap with myself. When I want something, no matter what the cost is, I will do it, most especially if I have the money, of course. Luke, Jj, and Wita went to a spa while I dialed 711.
“Phoenix Spa. How may I help you?”
“I need a two-hour massage.”
“That will be 600,000 ma’am.” That’s $41 USD approx.
“Okay, that’s fine. Can the therapist come to the room at 15:00?”
“Ma’am, if room service, there’s a 50,000 charge on top.” Ufff, $4 USD more.
“Sure. Just send her in.”
Just as I was getting in the shower, preparing for my massage, I got this message:
It was Tat. What else should I say to a Japanese who always wants to drink but, “Yes. I’m going to finish my massage and will be right down.” I bet he’s already starting to drink.
In all my travels, I have always been more close to the boys. I climbed Machu Picchu with 4 Australian idiots that I truly love. I was housemates with 3 Mexican guys in Brasil. I lived with 4 hard-drinking, weed-smoking, coke-snorting Israeli boys in Peru. I backpacked Sri Lanka with 2 dumb English boys whose girlfriends really adore me. I convinced a Spanish backpacker whom I met in Taiwan to go to the Philippines instead of Indonesia. (Sorry, I know I’m not supposed to do that). And he did. He ditched his ticket to Bali and booked a new one to Manila.
Not that because I am not girly or I refuse to do girly things but men are too simple. They can sleep anywhere. They can wear anything. They can eat everything. It’s pretty much just like me but I still have a very strong feministic sense of self in another form. In non-modern thinking, hanging out with boys is probably whoring but I have always attracted men whom I ended up having genuine platonic relationships with. Nothing sexual at all.
I don’t remember having a drink with Tat prior to our arrival in Yogyakarta but I am sure I was invited for a drink because I smoke.
After my massage, I had the feeling of shutting down but doing that will keep me awake at night and end most probably end up being late for the next day’s call time. So I got up, dressed up, grabbed a few bucks and went straight to the bar with the strong smell of aroma oil still lingering on my skin. I sent a text message to the group, inviting anyone who’s available to drink at 17:00.
On my way to the bar, I saw Luke and Wita eating at the restaurant.
“Trisha, let’s drink later!” Luke yelled.
“No, I’m drinking now!” I yelled back and walked away.
Tat already had a beer when I arrived. I ordered a beer and told Tat, “this is on you.”
“In Japanese culture, we always pay for women. But you are older than me so that cultural rule does not apply,” he said.
Apparently, they only pay for women younger than them but fck it – I know he’s going to buy me a drink. Or two. Or three. Or four…..
Noah came. I did not talk about Noah in the earlier part of this story because he was a day late and I only briefly talked to him on one occasion.
Noah is this guy from Australia but of Chinese and Swiss descent. From the way he looks, you will pretty much see the fruit of cross-cultural relationships – he is fecking good-looking. I feel like if I touch his face, my fingers are going to sink in the softness of his face. If you look at me and him, he definitely does proper skincare than I do. He is freakishly handsome and fecking attractive. His timidness adds to that charm. He’s not a big talker but hey, he joins the fun so anyone who ingests alcohol is welcome to the tribe.
“Do you guys know how to play billiards?” Tat asked.
Noah and I looked at each other, very hesitant if we are up for this game or we shall continue drinking. I haven’t played billiards in a long as$ time. I am also not the best player but I granted Mr. Japan’s wish. Noah followed, still looking at me, confused.
“I have a feeling we all suck at this but let’s do it,” I said.
Actually, no. Without starting it yet, I felt like the boys were really good at it. I mean, Australia and Japan are probably not the best players in the world and billiards is not part of their culture but somehow, I still felt they were good at it.
They sucked. We all sucked. We continued playing anyway.
Jaejun comes in. Without saying hi to us, he ordered a drink right away. As soon as he came to our God-forsaken billiards table, Tat asked him if he can play.
“No. But I can try.”
He sucked too. Apparently, this game didn’t reach Korea at the time that they were young and getting drunk. We still played and laughed at each other’s stupid turns. The next thing I knew, Jj, Kanta and Wita joins the fun.
The next thing I knew, I already had four beers,
The next thing I knew, we were having tequila shots.
The next thing I knew, Tat was ordering another round of tequila for everyone.
The next thing I knew, I was ordering tequila for everyone.
Writing and drinking are really my strengths but they should not be together. I was supposed to remember every tidbit of what happened when we were drinking. Oh no no no no no, I did not pass out. I was just a little high, I guess?
But what is vivid to me was the coming together of strangers sharing drinks, laughing and just having fun. I felt that strong connection I have with these people that I have not felt in so long. I am the pack-and-go person: one moment I’m downing a tequila bottle in Mexico, the next I am having a spiritual journey in India. It has been really hard for me to make long-lasting and genuine relationships because I was always with different people. Though we were not sure what each other’s backgrounds were, I felt that the people I was around with that night have given me so many reasons to believe that meaningful friendships are not limited to our family or the people we grew up with or the people of our same origin. We were all from different countries and walks of life but we did get along pretty well. I might not remember how many drinks we had that night but I do remember what I felt: happiness.
I do remember being at the dinner table. Noah and I didn’t have the appetite for food so we continued our rendezvous in the restaurant patio. It was raining so we kind of re-arranged the tables and chairs to be in the shade.
I don’t need to clarify I was drunk but I was sure I was enjoying Noah’s company. I was pretty surprised by how much he talked. Little by little, he started opening up to me and have shared really intimate and deep thoughts which I think he will only comfortably share with a person whom he thinks he can trust. Jaejun joins us and for the rest of the night, we talked about our hopes, our dreams, our love for life, our missions and goals in life. And through that conversation and extended drinking spree, I know Noah and Jaejun are part of my tribe – from that day on, I know they will always look after me and that I can trust them with my life.
I also remember we were again flying to Surabaya the next day. Fck. I need to sleep. And another massage.