geckos, sunsets and long lazy days by the beach.

I lose track of time, I’ve been here for two and a half weeks now… and time is going so quickly. It’s almost time for me to head back to Perth, to welcome a gorgeous little member of the family into the world, and to renew my visa so I can come back to my Island getaway… I love it here…

local fishermen

It’s been more than once in the past week that I’ve looked out across the ocean or through the rice patties and thought… I could just stay here forever. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this relaxed, or this calm or happy. It’s just the simplicity of life here… there is no stress and there is no responsibility. there is nothing that has to be done (except work…) and everything can wait for tomorrow. Things move slowly in the village and my mind and my body is beginning to slow right down too. I spend a lot of time at the moment just taking things in. Just watching people on the beach, or plowing fields or kids bathing in all their clothes. Soapy and splashing each other with the water that they pull up from the well in little red and black buckets.

The village has gone back to its lazy quiet way now that the big Indonesian holiday period is over. The kids in town are still out of school until next week sometime, and you can see them napping in hammocks or playing with animals or riding their bikes or just helping scoop rice or bring the fish in from the boats… it’s so calm everywhere now.

There are no cars in our village. That statement is probably not 100% true. there are probably a couple. But you never see any except for the big open backed delivery trucks full to the brim with kids and their parents, or with coconut shells, or with big bunches of bananas or clusters of bright red hairy rambutan, all coming to bring things in and take things out of our sleepy little town.

I was trying to figure out the other day how many people live here… there aren’t very many houses. My guess would be about 600 people… something like that. A lot of the houses are holiday homes for Jakarta families, and are empty most of the year. Or are expat homes, like the one we are renting, and can be empty for years at a time…

The sky has been threatening us with a massive tropical storm for the past few days, but still it hasn’t hit. There has been rain of course, but not really stormy. If you look out across the bright green blue water that laps gently against our dark brown sand, you can see that there are big fishing boats and liners that have come into our protected little cove to stay safe from a storm that was supposed to pass. Now I think they are just staying because they don’t want to leave. It truly is gorgeous here.

Sara’s shifts have changed at work, and so with that our routine changes. Instead of having a long break in the middle of the day she works three short shifts, one hour break in between each. Starting earlier, but finishing earlier too. It means we get to sit and watch the sun go down together over a bintang or five and gaze at the mottled pink sky and talk about how we’d love to be here for the rest of our lives. How this place, this little place in this big wide world, is so perfect to just exist in… While the warm damp air clings to our skin and the last of the beach goers come back up to the shore rinsing the black brown sand from their feet and legs…

We’ve been redecorating our little bungalow. First we started by repainting the kitchen which just looked dirty from years of standing empty and unloved. It’s now fresh and clean and bright again. Then we painting two walls bright blue to add a shot of colour.

gary the gecko

And yesterday I drew an enormous gecko on one of the walls and painted him in. Our house is full of geckos at all times of the day, and if it’s been raining the little frogs come to play inside too. There are tiny geckos, I’ve seen one the size of the end of my finger and there are huge geckos, more like the size of my forearm, with a head the size of my fist… the big ones are incredible. I’ve never seen anything like them. Bright reds and greens and purples down their backs, they look just like a cartoon. And they bark and chirp and talk to each other all day long.

We have cicadas in the long grass out the back of our house which itches my legs when I take the clothes off the line. When you stand still they fly out and click and clack around you like little tiny fire crackers… Out the back of our house is an old couple who live in bamboo huts. They always smile and wave when they see me. The often bathe out in the open. I keep the blinds closed so they can keep their privacy… though they probably don’t mind much. Out the back of our house smells like summer. Fresh green grass and if you raise your eyes to the sky all you can see is a world of coconut palms, hundreds of them all around us, brightening the world with their bright green leaves, and forcing you to be aware so that a coconut doesn’t fall on your head and knock you out. It happens.

I’ve been working on the house and exploring the world around me. I took a ride to Lego (sp?) which is about 40 minutes away from BK on the bike, up and over the mountain to the other side. In 2006 almost this entire village was wiped out by a tsunami. This village is considerably smaller even than where we are, and they are on a much more exposed and rocky stretch of beach… they don’t have the protection of a cove like where we live now. When I rode through the village there are foundations from houses that were completely wiped out, which are now overgrown by foliage. I guess people just couldn’t afford to rebuild, so they never did. It’s also interesting when riding through the village that you notice every couple of hundred meters there are signs, that have a big blue wave and a person running, and then an arrow up the hill. They are trying to show people where to go if the waves come again. They have built shelters and paths up the mountain so that people can save themselves if (when) it happens again. It’s really only a matter of time… it’s nature… it’s living on the equator, it’s just a part of life here.

evacuation sign

On my way out of Lego (sp?) I stopped at a little warung to have a snack, some Soto, A soupy noodle mix which was so delicious, except that it also had cow tail in it… well… I’m not one to say no, so I ate it, and if I didn’t think about the tail part so much, it really was delicious… They laughed when I told them I was from Australia, and pointed to the ocean and told me I could swim home if I wanted… very funny apparently.

I weaved my way back up the mountain. There are no big roads in this part of the world. Just small roads and then bumpy tracks. There are no freeways or highways, you have to take smaller roads to just get into this section of West Java… which I guess is why it takes so long to get here from Jakarta.

When I was riding home from dropping Sara at work this morning the rain had just stopped, I was soaked all the way through, I was riding and watched a little boy riding his bicycle, he stopped to stare at me, and doing so lost his balance and fell straight into a muddy puddle. He laughed a lot and so did I, the people are wonderful here. His grandparents were sitting on the porch untangling a large fishing net and laughing at the boy as well, they all wave to me when I ride past. They all smile with crooked teeth and gaps where teeth would have been in their youth. The kids yell Hai! at me when I am near and collapse into hysterics when I respond. They are gentle, kind and friendly people here, they are lovely to me and one day I’ll be able to talk back to them… until then though, a smile, a wave and a nod… and we all understand each other that way.

Sara and I bought our own motorbike the other day, she had a day off and we drove to Pangandaran and made the purchase, she is a beautiful 2007 Honda who is black and shiny and makes a loud noise when you wake her up. We park her inside our house to protect her from falling coconuts and branches… we’ve named her black betty, and I think she’s pretty great. She’ll take me anywhere I want to go.

That’s enough for today I think. I don’t know what I’ve written. I’m sitting in my dark lounge room looking at my big geckos on the wall and thinking about what to have for dinner. Fish I think, or maybe chicken tonight… Whatever it is, I know it will be delicious, and I can only wait until the day that my white person belly is strong enough to not hurt after the chilli… it’s a matter of time and training, which I think I’ll do a some serious training tonight…. bring on the chillied fish…

Until tomorrow… or whenever…


4 Responses to “geckos, sunsets and long lazy days by the beach.”
  1. TheOtherS says:

    Photos! Please 😀

    I believe you may have found heaven… WTH am I doing working? 😉

  2. ksj says:

    Sash, out in the ether there is a book with your name on it waiting for you to fill in the covers with gorgeous prose. I love reading about your experiences!

  3. thank you both! what a lovely start to the day!

  4. Kate says:

    very cool sash

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