Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ubud Writers Readers Festival 2011

Before I write more about what happened last year in Ubud, if you’re a fan of books and literature, interesting festival coming up in October over in Ubud – Bali. Ubud Writers and Readers Festival brings you Indonesian and international writers, readers, thinkers and artists together in the unique setting of Ubud to engage in conversations and exchange ideas.Check to find out their programs and see if it’s not too late to volunteer for the festival.
It was a great experience volunteering for Ubud Writers Readers Festival ( UWRF ) from 5 – 9 October 2011. I worked with other 200 volunteers from all over the world, guess we all came to Ubud with one big mission : to participate, and didn’t want to miss the experience sitting with readers from all over the world, having discussions with your favorite writers surrounded by the enchanting view of Ubud nature and valley the festival. I applied to volunteer for UWRF Special Events and Community & Arts Program     ( they have so many sections you can choose to volunteer ),once I received a reply from them, I booked my flight ticket which was just like a pass for the whole fun in my own little adventure.

Arrived in Bali on Saturday afternoon, 1st October 2011, I was sooo happy to see my old buddy Doddy picked me up in the airport. He took me to Kuta to see my friends Widya and Indri, we spent the whole afternoon riding around town and watched the sunset at Dreamland. Shame Dreamland beach was a bit dirty, it was one of my favorite beaches while sipping drinks or dip in the pool at Kelapa Restaurant. Then we went back to the hotel, showered, had some chicken satays at Javanese restaurant, shopping a bit after that we went to Sky Garden at Legian – a great night out everyone would recommend you to go, it has 3 levels including a mostly open roof top, cheap drinks, all in all…great party atmosphere. This night club reminded me of good old times with Club Med staffs, we came here a lot after finished working. Work hard, play hard.


Spent a night with Widya and Indri at Berlian Inn at Poppies Lane 1, the backpackers district in Kuta, I left the next morning, took a shuttle bus at 10 am to Ubud with Perama Tours at Legian Street     ( Rp 50.000 one way ). Reached Ubud in the afternoon, I took ojek / motorcycle taxi to Ubud market where I was planning to stay with my friend Bop who lived just one block from the market. Me and Bop used to work together in Malaysia for 6 months, he was an incredible colleague for me. Moved to Bali 2 years ago, he is now working as a general manager at Swasti Eco Cottages ( ), living such a happy life with his gorgeous girlfriend.

Dinner with Bop

On Tuesday morning, I had my first meeting with all UWRF volunteers and supervisors. The work schedule was pretty easy, only 1 to 3 hours a day. I’d be assisting for Tribute Night, Words in Motion and Poetry Slam Competition. Some Balinese artists and international poets from Australia and UK were scheduled to read poems, we also invited the audience to join Poetry Slam Competition.  I found it very interesting to see how each person had unique ways reading their own poems. Some were talking about love, food, women, Bali, even tourist behavior.
When I didn’t have any volunteer schedule with UWRF, I went bike riding around Ubud to check out their amazing landscape and also joined some of the discussions. Each day UWRF had different programs in different locations, always double check with your book programs about the locations and themes. My favorite discussion was about independent women led by Debra Yatim – a woman activist, Djenar Maesa Ayu – an author, and two others newspaper editor. 

At the last day of the festival, UWRF organized street party at Gotama st, and closing party at Don Blanco Antonio Museum. The venues were packed with local people, tourists, artists and volunteers enjoying performance by Rio Sidik Quartet band, DJs, international poets and many more.

before Tribute Night @ Pura Dalem

Get ready for Poetry Slam Competition @  CP Lounge

Words in Motion @ Lotus Stage

Stilt Puppets
Rio Sidik Quartet :D
Crowds @ Closing party at Don Blanco Antonio Museum
Went out for drinks with my girls Deeana and Katy Mercer at our last day, we had such great times during the festival. Unfortunately I can’t attend the festival next month cos I have to go to Phuket visiting some good friends and to keep you guys updated what’s new with Phuket.  Stay tuned :D


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