New Friends


Sequel article of Where are You God?


Having plenty of time on the plane, Kendrick pulled out his new small diary. On the first page was a brochure of his destination and he read it again for the tenth times:
Bali is an island between Java and Lombok Island with the vast majority in Hindu. It is famous for its artworks and music and considered to be number one for tourist
attraction destination in Indonesia.
“Hi, is this your first time to Indonesia?”
Kendrick squinted at a friendly young man sitting next to him. He had trimmed dark hair with welcoming black eyes and a pair of eyeglasses in silvery frame. From his outer appearance, Kendrick knew that he was an Asian man.
“Yes, it is,” Kendrick answered politely, “And how about you? Are you from Indonesia?” He tried to prolong the conversation.
“Yes, I’m from Bali,” the young man replied. “I’m a university student.” He studied Kendrick’s profile guessing his new acquaintance’s job. He guessed him right.
“Oh, really? I’m a psychology professor. I’m on a long leave,” he paused a moment, then continued. “So, tell me about the place!”
“Well, it depends on your interest. Are you going to stay long?”
“I don’t know exactly. I’m attending a three-day conference and then, well, I guess, I’ll just have to follow my instinct.”
His eyes widened. “Oh, I’m Putu Ray by the way,” he extended his hands.
“I’m Kendrick Lovington,” he replied offering his hand.
“Bali is a superb island. You shall like it. It has sacred nuance of religious aura.”
Kendrick’s face was wreathed in smiles. “That’s exactly what I’m looking for.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, you’ll come to the right place, then. Bali is an exotic island with the depth understanding of God. You’ll also love the beaches. It’s a melting pot between the west and the east.”
“Yes, I surely will.”
“And, hum, you’ll definitely need to change your suit there,” Putu remarked observing his conventional clothes.
Kendrick smiled shyly. “I guess, I will.”

After being on the plane for almost a full day long, the plane finally landed in Denpasar, Bali. Kendrick stretched out his numb legs, said good bye to his companion, and hailed for a taxi.
He entered into a private resort where he was warmly welcomed. It was rather quiet with a shady green garden in the center, next to the restaurant, and a medium-sized swimming pool.
Soon after checking in, Kendrick changed into the creamy pants with long-sleeved white cotton shirt, getting ready for his very first start journey. He strolled along the sidewalk of the streets.

It was a sunny day and warm breeze greeted his pale skin. Almost everyone in the street wore beach-suits and cotton garments.
The streets were full of small stores selling many types of merchandise; clothing, souvenirs, and metal works. The cozy ambiance of semi-outdoor cafés straggled between the stores.
Kendrick bought some T-shirts and long cotton-motif-pants and then ambled at the streets enjoying the new scent of his life, spending more than half of his day, and sat leisurely on a semi-outdoor café reading a book.

On the next day, Kendrick attended the conference.
He entered the huge ballroom with white tablecloths and comfortable red chairs lining up tidily. He walked into an empty seat in the center next to a white turbaned man.
“Hi, is this seat taken?” Kendrick opened the conversation politely.
“Oh, no, no. Go ahead.” He gave a wide smile to Kendrick. “Hi, I’m Ahmed Badullah.”
“Kendrick Lovington.”
“Coming alone?” Ahmed asked him.
“Religion is my passion.”
Kendrick beamed. “Same as here.”
“Excuse me.” Their ongoing conversation was interrupted by a white-dressed man in a white cotton toupee. He looked modest and warm with black eyes and tanned skin.
“Hi,” Kendrick greeted. He noticed him secretly. He assumed the man was around his age.
The man took a seat beside him.
“Hi, I’m Ida Marendra,” he introduced himself, and they delivered their warm handshakes.
They paused for a while.
Kendrick reached the inside part of his backpack. Ugh, what’s the word for the Hinduism leader in Bali? I’ve written it down in my diary. He grabbed his white soft leather book, opened it quickly, and fingered the lines.
Aha. Here it is! he said inwardly.
Kendrick turned his head to the direction of where Marendra was sitting. “Are, are you a Mangku?” he asked.
The man nodded smiling. “Yes. Why?”
“Well, I’m interested in Hinduism, and hum, actually I’m in search for God.”
“Oh, really?”
Well, maybe we can get together after the conference is over.”
“Oh, sure!”
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” the moderator opened the speech commencing the conference. All participants paid their attention to the stage.

During the lunch break, they sat by each other having fried-rice with chicken and shrimp chips.
“So, what do you do?” Kendrick took a spoon of his rice.
“I’m a businessman.”
“Oh, I see. Where you from?”
“I’m from Dubai.”
Kendrick chewed up his food. “Oh, I believe it’s a beautiful country.”
Ahmed grinned. “Indeed. Thank you.”
“How long will you be staying in Bali?” Ida Marendra asked.
“I’m still having to do some business after the conference. Maybe I’ll stay for two weeks or so.”
“Oh, really?”
They continued talking and became close friends during the seminar.