The Case for Dating at a Reservoir

Jul 4, 2022 | | | By Arman Dhani

Photo: Arman Dhani

Tambakboyo reservoir | 2,000 words

Translated from Bahasa Indonesia by Lise Isles

‘So, I had a Tinder date in this place. We had a chat, then were forced to take shelter when it rained. Had coffee at that café close to the water.’

Fira walks fast. Wearing a blue shirt and a purple mask, she shows no signs of tiredness, even though she’s already walked over three kilometres. Tambakboyo this morning is clear and bright. Entering the reservoir from the downwards-sloping path on its west side reveals an enormous pool of reflected silver water. From a distance the trash isn’t yet visible. Like so many public spaces in Yogyakarta or ‘Yogya’, it looks perfect until you see it up close.

The fresh air around Tambakboyo makes it like an oasis. From the path that wraps around its shoreline, the mountain to the north can be seen clearly. Mount Merapi stands tall, like an enormous milepost. It’s so often visible in Yogya that it’s used to indicate direction.

‘How long did you talk for? And what happened?’ I ask.

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© Arman Dhani

English translation © Lise Isles

About The Author

Arman Dhani

In 2012 Arman Dhani won the Ahmad Wahib Award for best blogger. He has worked as a script writer for Visinema and Vice, regularly contributes writing to,,, and other publications, and is the author of Dari Twitwar ke Twitwar, Eminus Dolere, and most recently, Yang Ditulis Usai Berpisah.

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