Life in Indonesia

Life in paradise

So how do I spend my days? I am often asked. Cruising has been defined as working on your boat in exotic places and I do my share of that. The recent mechanical dilemma is the unexplained battery problem. I seem to be stumped as of today but determined to solve the problem. There is no yacht level support in Indonesia; if it breaks you fix it, period. So I have recently been consumed on this issue, utilizing my “Zen and the Art of Boat Maintenance” approach. Ok mostly Zen with a few profane expletives tossed about.

So each day usually starts with some “alone time” for me as I rise before the crew. I do my internet and blogging and check facebook of course if in internet range. The breakfast and some discussion as to what the day will bring. I do some maintenance each day, sometimes more than others. The crew does the daily cleaning and food planning. If we are out in the islands we start talking diving and plan what the days diving will be. Evening will find us all on the boat, the traditional Pu Pu Platter at sunset followed by a scrumptious dinner and the nightly gratitude sharing, then usually a movie. We hit the sack early at the anchorages, usually to make up for the late hours we keep when in town.

Life goes on while cruising, I needed a haircut, usually done by the crew but took to opportunity to visit a local barber shop, a real barber shop like we had when I was a kid. It was reminiscent of my youthful visits to the local shop, including the price; $1.40 for a haircut, straight razor shave and shoulder rub. I then met Sam and our friend for lunch, again a time warp, fantastic hot lunch in a nice place with ocean view for under three bucks.

The procurement of fuel, solar as it is called here, takes priority here. As I have said, it is a complicated process, dodging the law. When we first got here there was a shortage and hard to get. This problem seems to be resolving as I get offers for solar daily now. So planning my next load of fuel is part of my weekly agenda.

We are taking one of the regular stays in town now so the day will be spent ashore. Yesterday I went to the rehearsal studio where my friends in the band practice and we worked on some of my songs, until the power went out in half the town that is. Sam stayed on the boat to catch up on her projects. We both went in for supper at our usual hangout, and I sat in with the band. We did the wildest rendition of the old Nielson song, “Put the Lime in the Coconut” where the songs goes, “Doctor oh what can I take” the boys, who had not heard the song thought I was singing “Gecko” instead of “Doctor” the song will be forever changed.

When at the anchorages we are often visited by our village friends, again we have become well known. We are the only cruising boat in the area so somewhat unique. That and I get a huge hoot out of my Indo friends so they are always welcomed enthusiastically. It is traditional for the Indo boys to want to tie their boats up to our stern and just hangout, never without an initial invite but once invited always invited. So you will see small dugout canoes and those stately long sleek narrow Indo boats hanging off the swim step of Furthur regularly. Sometimes they are fishing as the guy off the swim step this morning is and sometimes just chatting. I think it is a sign of our acceptance and friendship into their worlds so I like it. I was taken aback on raining night in a secluded anchorage when I saw a guy on the swim step, I bounded out the door and started to demand he leave when Sam recognized the guy and the boat as the tender for the livaboard dive boat that had helped us so kindly with our dive. I apologized for not recognizing them, no problem, invited them aboard to which they declined and they just hung out for a while fishing in the rain. The other practice that gets some getting used to is the close drive by’s of the local boats, they will put put put as close as possible to check us out. We always wave and it is always returned, just their way of saying Hi.

It has not taken long to get to be known in Labuan Bajo. When we hit the industrial wharf with the dinghy we are greeted with warm “Captain Brian’s” and warmer “Sam’s”. A bunch of naked boys are jumping off the boats into the warm albeit a bit dirty water off the wharf, they all come up to say hello. We always get help with the dinghy and know it is safe and will be watched by the boys on the dock. We make our way into town, rarely going fifty meters without seeing someone we know. The giggly girls at the ice-cream stand see me coming and start to blush instantly knowing I will tease them somehow. We pass by our favorite dive shops and chat about the current diving, where are the Manta Rays?

We inevitably wind up at our favorite haunt, The Lounge, for internet and to talk music. The three girls who work there seem to get a hoot out of me and love Sam. I learned enough Indonesian to tell them, in what must be a comical accent, that they are beautiful, that always gets a blushing giggle. These hard working girls are small bundles of joy, all under 5 feet tall and with huge heart stopping smiles. Whoever coined the term “cute as a bug’s ear” must have met these girls.

So a day in the life of Indo, diving, working on the boat, playing music, hanging out for hours just talking in simple trans language dialog. A day does not go by that I do not pause, smile a beaming smile, and thank God I am here.