SAYA SUKA KUCING!
16 months after the trip- you’d think this blog would be written to perfection. Actually, a wild notion just came into my head to write about it and I thought, why not? Well I know why not, I have a report to do… But that’s probably why so.
A Two month trip is a fairly long time to log up, so I thought I pick out a brief outline of my journey, with a few stories along the way that would epitomise the experience… enjoy!
(fyi!)To those reading who know me now in my walk with Christ, this trip was less than a year before I became a Christian. Also, the camera used for these pictures was taken using Sony alpha 330.
And so the long-awaited travels to Indonesia arrived. One month of ‘research’ in the Sulawesian Rainforests, followed by a flight to Bali with only a returning home flight booked a month later. What to do in between? The worlds my oyster, as the saying goes.
First impression of Indonesia? Small people! One of the Western students that I met up with at the airport was about 6 foot 3, and a group of Indo men were surrounding him, pointing and laughing at how tall this ‘giant’ was.
One thing I quickly learnt was that there was an abundance of cats in Indonesia. The Islamic prophet Mohammed was fond of them, and being a predominantly Muslim country no one is allowed to kill them (it doesn’t stop them being abandoned though!). This one struck me in particular- I named him Hitler. Or is that offensive?
We stayed in Labundo-bundo! A very small village with rustic houses planted on either side. I was adopted into a family with a balcony- not too shabby after all!
That is, until I saw the (outdoor) bathroom… A hole in the floor, plus a ‘mandi’ – a tank of water that you scoop water out of to wash, well everything (using left hands only please). It was one of the best in the neighbour hood though, and they did feature some toilet roll for us westerners! But if they survive without it, why should I need it?
My host family, and most of Labundo couldn’t speak English – what a great incentive to learn the language! Each villages has its own dialect, although they all speak the one universal, or Indonesiersal language- Bahasa Indonesia.
The first week was spent in Jungle training… One of the best weeks of my life! Made some great friendships and life-lasting memories.
The second week I was planning on doing the advanced jungle training course! But after learning that no previous group has ever survived the week without gout, or some sort of foot disease, I decided to embark upon a ‘culture week’… So much for the research!
No regrets though- that week I had the best time with my friend Nina… We made quite a pair- the gila gila girls they called us… ‘Gila’ is indonesian for, er, ‘crazy’.
I must mention Fifin- one of the english speaking local staff. He was an awesome guy!…he would even climb 20-odd metre coconut trees on demand!
I often got called ‘putih banyak’ by the locals…putih = white, banyak= very. I find it strange how people in the UK paint themselves darker/orange, whereas in Asia they have whitening kits. Why is it that people find it hard to be content with what they have?
That week I soaked up the Indonesian language, in preparation for the travels ahead.
We cooked some traditional foods, explored the medicinal plants, went fishing in the next village, visited the rice makers, not to mention teaching English at the local school!
I’ll always remember lying on a wall with Nina while watching the night sky. So many stars! I’d never seen a shooting star before- but to see a few all in one viewing certainly made up for it! … How can we humans, so called ‘meaningless pieces of protoplasm’ be struck with such awe?
Then Nina left…
The next two weeks were a bit more higgledy piggledy… I got a great taster of the different research projects going out there. I helped out with maquaque behaviour, fig wasps, bats, tarsiers, herpetofauna and civet projects.
Young coconut milk/water is one thing I often crave since Indonesia. It was the most refreshing, thirst quenching drink I’ve ever experienced… Haven’t managed to to find a similar coconut drink like it anywhere else thus far.
My time in the rainforest was soon over, but I was glad I didn’t book a flight straight back to the UK. I hoped to return again, but until then, on to Bali it was!
Stay tuned for the island hopping!