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Idul Fitri – our village transformed…

where's waldo?

With the end of Ramadan, comes the beginning of Idul Fitri, the Christmas like celebration of life, forgiveness and religion. The end of fasting and quiet gives way to crazy crowds, endless supplies of food and thousands of people flocking to our tiny village and crowding our one street and stretch of beautiful beach.

Batukaras is a favourite for the local tourists, its beauty, its great food and awesome beach break bring families from near and far to come and celebrate together… which is lovely, of course. But for those of us who live at the beach which is normally uncrowded, a few tourists on the beach, a few locals sleeping in hammocks and that’s about it… this week is going to be a bit of a shock to our system. Our beach is packed!

eating in public again! Ramadan is over!

To get to the main drag (three small warungs, a couple of hotels, and the main beach) you go over a hill, it takes around 2.5 seconds normally. Yesterday I sat on the back of a bike, going down the hill, for 20 minutes. There is a lot of traffic in town! Bikes and screaming children, picnic baskets that contain banana leaves and rice cookers, food vendors, balloon sellers, and thousands of people (fully dressed of course) frolicking and yelling in the warm tropical water. I can’t help but feel a little out-of-place in my own town this week. I stand out like a ghost in a sea of chocolate-brown skin and headscarves and the stares are a little daunting at times. The constant demand for photographs, conversations and the never ending questions about where I am going and why I am there are a little grating after a while. We sat for hours on the beach in shock at its transformation. My housemates and I laughed with our friends and joked with the tourists. We walked along the hot sand weaving our way through the endless sea of bamboo mats hosting families eating snacks of all strange shapes and sizes.

having a laugh in our normally quiet hammock spot by the beach...

We ate corn, fruit, sticky rice, salty fish, cool tofu cubes and spicy puffed rice washed down with sweet coconut milk drinks complete with weird gelatine worms. And then we braved the surf. The waves have been amazing for the past week, and so despite the crowd that you have to fight through carrying your board, once you reach the point you can see nothing but horizon in front of you and for a moment or two you can forget the throbbing crowd behind you – that is until the Indonesian pop music starts blaring from the speakers again, or you turn around the catch a wave only to wonder how you are going to navigate through the crowd of fully dressed, weak swimming crowd in front of you.

Idul Fitri has begun, and we are in for a full week of madness. It’s time to hibernate and to venture out every now and then for another strange festival snack and to gawk at the strangers who have come to inhabit and litter and transform our quiet village.

If nothing else, it’s great for business!

Barefoot, sunburnt, full and eating in public once more!

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Comments
2 Responses to “Idul Fitri – our village transformed…”
  1. Jason says:

    Sash,

    Bagus-la! Nice post about Idul Fitri. Sounds like your sleepy fishing village wasn’t so sleepy.

    Jason

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