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fireworks on a clear night, village life.

I haven’t been as slack with blogging as it might seem. Things here have been a little hectic in the village and I haven’t been able to get to an internet connection that actually works.

Since christmas things have been wonderful. We had our friends Sophie and Decky come to visit for four days, which was lovely, it was nice to have some people around during the day for me to talk to and Sophie is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, so that was indeed helpful… I’m learning, but slowly, gaining more words every day…

Green Canyon

We spent a day floating down the beautiful river to the Green Canyon, it is one of this area’s most important tourist attractions. And if you ever get to go there you will see why… there are hundreds of people waiting to just take a short ride in a boat through the canyon… it is so incredibly beautiful. Bright green water, green trees and ferns and palms dip their leaves under the cool surface and local kids leap from the trees in just their underwear laughing and screaming and waving to get your attention. Once you get right into the canyon you are surrounded by huge rock faces which are dotted with green moss and make beautiful waterfalls. It’s a part of the world that I know I could never get sick of, it’s too beautiful. Once you get to the end you can put on a life jacket and get in the water, exploring around the rocks and deeper into the canyon where the boats can’t go. We didn’t do this part of the adventure, firstly there was a little confusion, and secondly, there were just too many people. It is high season in our little village at the moment. and instead of the locals – population can’t be over 700… there has been thousands of Indonesian tourists cluttering the beach, the canyon and sleeping anywhere they can lay there head. I saw three families get out of the back of a dump truck this morning that they had made into a lodgement with a tarp over the roof… There isn’t much accommodation in the village, and what there is has been booked out for the past week.

We went on an eating adventure, from Cumi Cumi (Squid… also an incredibly fun word to say) bakar to the best nasi goreng I’ve ever had to Cap Cay and frog… we’ve had it all… the frog was good, baked and fried in a hot chilli sauce, these tiny legs of meat, just like chicken… Couldn’t eat much of it, but that might have been the little vertabrae on my plate putting me off a little…

frogalicious

We spent long afternoons playing UNO… trying to become the champion of a game that took a trip to the internet cafe to remember how to play. It’s been a great week.

Floating in the warm flat water… I don’t know what has happened to the surf… but it’s decided not to come to visit since I got here. The ocean looks like a lake at the moment… a lake full of tourists who swim fully clothed…

New years eve was an interesting night. In BK they normally have a band on the beach, but because NYE was a thursday night this year – they day before the locals day of rest/prayer… it was cancelled. Instead there were just lots of little groups of people on the beach with bonfires… people trying to feed me out of plastic bags and kissing my cheek. People setting off fireworks. We drank expensive french champagne at midnight and then set off some Roman Candle fireworks of our own. It wasn’t like any NYE I’ve had before, and it’lll certainly be one that I remember…

New Years Eve

Just getting the fireworks was a mission in itself. Sophie and I rode to the next town, Cijulang, to see if we could get any – we were told that the closest place to purchase them is Pangandaran, which is an hours drive by bike and the biggest town in our area… we didn’t really want to go that far so we headed to the next town Parigi to check at the markets. We found the little sparkle sticks, and then just as we were leaving we asked a guy who runs a toy stall… he said no but grabbed a younger boy who then lead us into a shed and climbed over big bags of rice… he dissappeared into the darkeness only to return with some giant fireworks sticks… fantastic. We bought them then and there… even though he told us to hold them when you set them off… which, for the record, is not a smart idea, good way to lose a hand…

Sophie and Decky left early yesterday morning, and since then life has been slowly going back to ‘normal.’ Sara works most of the day and I hang about, doing some work on the film I’m writing, riding to Cijulang to go to the tiniest supermarket in the world to buy tiny packets of toilet paper and even smaller boxes of juice…. Life is good here. I’m looking forward to the swarms of tourists leaving. And I haven’t even been here in the quiet times… but during the week, there is no traffic in our village, which consists of one or two roads and then a couple of little bumpy streets through the village housing… But lately there has been people everwhere. And people everywhere means a lot of garbage. We don’t have public bins, and so everyone just drops their rubbish on the floor… people go and rake it up and set fire to it every now and then… but there is a lot less of it once the tourists leave.

Rubbish disposal is an interesting concept in this village. It just doens’t really exist. We have a hole in our backyard which our sweet little cleaning lady puts our rubbish in.. when the hole gets full our maintenance guy will come and set fire to it and dig another hole…

We had our first maggot free night last night. We have had maggots falling from the ceiling whilst we sleep. it’s not a nice way to sleep at all. Our ceiling is thatched bamboo and it’s pretty decrepit… and something mustve crawled into the roof and died because maggots had started falliing through the holes… it’s enough to make your skin crawl… but Lehman, our maintenance man, came yesterday and seems to have done a great job. No creepy crawlers meant a great night of sleep, which makes both of us much more pleasant to be around…

The days seem to melt, one into the next, each day more relaxing and interesting than the one before. I look forward to a sleepy village (where everyone gets up at 4am to pray and naps in the day) where I can start making friends with the locals and getting a better handle on the language. I really love it here, I love to drive through the little pathways in our village, in amongst the coconut palms and the rice fields, where children are playing and dogs and cats sleep in the sunshine. Where everyone smiles and waves, and scarecrows watch over the crops… Chickens run around looking for snacks and little yellow balls of ducklings cheap excitedly when you get close to them. I can’t wait to get a goat and settle in to life here… just to exist… just to be and live here in a simple life where you can have your fill of fresh seafood straight off the fishing boats for as little as $1.50.

So, it’s a new year… 2010. The end of one chapter and the fresh beginning to a new one that I’m sure will bring tears and laughter, days of saddness and long stretches of joy. I’m just so excited to see what becomes of all of us this year… what it brings to us, how it changes us and what we all do with this fresh slate that has been placed before us. I can feel change in the air… and that can never be a bad thing… My shoulders and nose have gone a light shade of brown and my feet are tanned in the shape of my thongs… barefoot inked. Just living my life.

Until next time.

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