Transcendental Balloon Tying, or A Lesson in Life

I have written about the extraordinary happiness and serenity of the Indonesian people before, it always amazes me. It would take more of a scholar than I to figure out the reasons why these people of the poorest means are the most serene and have the happiest children on earth. All I know is that an afternoon with rural Indonesian children will do more for you than years of therapy, buckets of drugs or all the self-help books at Barnes and Noble. Millions are spent on such things just to get close to what these people have naturally.

We met Doma on the fuel buying operation and he has become a good friend. I have grown to eagerly listen for the put put put of his single cylinder diesel boat and hear his friendly “Brrrrrrian”. He has repeatedly invited us to his village and his home. The last time he was genuinely hurt we had not come. It was time to pay him a visit so we headed to Komodo Island and dropped anchor that night by his village. As soon as we awoke there he was, the put put put and enchanting Brrrrrrrrrian.

We took the dinghy to his village and were warmly welcomed at the makeshift pier. Soon Doma appeared and was sincerely proud we came to visit. He took us to the stoic office of the village and we signed the guest book, I made a good donation to the school there as seemed to be expected.

The crowd grew as we met a brother, and other residents. I spotted some very young kids and broke out my balloon kit. Doing the balloons has become my trademark and the golden key that opens all sorts of doors, simply one of the best things I have. Bug eyed the little tikes watch as the balloons grow and amazement grows as the balloon becomes a goat or a dog or now a Komodo Dragon.

Doma takes us to his house where we meet his mother and some young kids shucking Tamarin, a local bean that candy is made from. They produce the husk for small amounts of money to buy rice and things. His mother is very happy to have us visit and we all share in picture taking. I make balloons for the three young girls who were merrily working away, laughing all the while.

They bring us local coffee with a generous dose of sugar, it is sublime. After a while it is time to bid farewell to our new friends but not before I just sit and take in all in. Sitting in the humble shack, drinking their coffee and listening to the joyful laughter of the kids I hit a place of true happiness. It comes over me like a comfortable wave washing me in quiet bliss. These are times you do not read about in the cruising books or travel logs. These are the unexpected times that transcend all the differences in our worlds. These are the times that tell me why I am here.