Pak’s New Boat


A couple of days ago Irishman and I were sat drinking coffee at the kitchen table and discussing plans for a snorkeling and fishing trip with Theo.

Nyoman was in the garden watering the plants and tending to the orchids, and Wayan was listening to our conversation whilst pounding away at a mountain of chilies in preparation for one of her lethal ring-burning sambals.

Suddenly she stopped her rhythmic pounding and said ‘Pak Wayan has a new boat, he can take you fishing and snorkeling’.  Irishman and I nearly choked on our coffee. What! A new car AND a new boat?  Beyond any shadow of a doubt, Pak Wayan had clearly become a man of some substance.

Whilst visions of what Pak’s new Gin Palace might look like floated in our heads, Wayan went off to make a phone call. Five minutes later she was back,  and excitedly told us that Pak Wayan would be picking us up at 8am the following morning to take us on a snorkeling and fishing trip on his boat. We were all pretty excited too.

The following morning we made our way up the coastal road out of Sanur and started to head north. As Pak drove us, we were able to watch some of the wonderful and not so wonderful sights of Bali. A small child with no inhibition squatting down having a shit on a pavement, an old woman carrying what looked like a ton of bricks in a basket on her head. Handcarts neatly stacked with corn on the cobs, a man on a scooter with his 4 children, one perched on his back, one on his lap and two behind him hanging on for dear life.

Fighting cocks in baskets were dotted along the roadside as were endless tiny stalls selling coconuts, bananas, watermelons and pineapples. Groups of women sat in doorways and on steps, chatting as they busily filled the offerings baskets with flowers, pieces of banana, crackers, daun pandan, and petals. We passed a man stuffing a dead cat unceremoniously into a plastic bag along with his household rubbish and a few miles further on, the tragic sight of a dog covered in bleeding patches, literally knawing on it’s own legs to try to alleviate the itching from mange and fleas.

Onwards and onwards we traveled, slowly winding up through the mountain passes, then down snaking our way round treacherous hairpin bends. We drove across bridges that traversed large deep dried up river beds now thirsty and parched from the dry season, and long stretches of road darkened by the jungle canopy that hung over them. We saw rice terraces, coloured in myriad shades of green, and farmers ploughing their fields with oxen. Ladies wearing coolie hats, knee deep in water and mud, pulling out the grasses and weeds from the growing rice plants. Well fed pigs fattened for months in their stys, now tethered under trees blissfully unaware that these were their last few days before being slaughtered for the big feast of Galungan at the end of this month.

With the journey being at least an hour or so longer than we thought, we could only imagine that Pak’s new boat was being anchored in some exclusive marina miles away from the jealous and prying eyes of his neighbours in Batur Sari. After 3 hours we eventually arrived at Tulamben. Although tired from the early start, and stiff from the long journey, we were keen to get onboard the boat and start the serious business of some snorkeling and fishing.

Bags containing swimming kit, googles, snorkels, towels, cameras and bottles of water were hauled from the boot of the car as we then followed Pak down to the waters edge. As we surveyed our new surroundings, it soon became apparent that something was missing from the picture.

‘Pak, where exactly is your boat?’ I asked him as my eyes scanned the empty shoreline from one end to the other. ‘Boat?’ replied Pak wiping away a large bead of sweat from his forehead. ‘Yes Pak, your new boat, where is it?’ Irishman and I exchanged nervous glances. ‘Ibu, I have no boat, but I find you one’. Theo looked down and shuffled his feet uncomfortably and Irishman started to do the thing that he always does when he’s not happy and that is to start rolling his head from side to side, a bit like a bull before it charges.  I looked at Pak, and Pak looked at me, he then hurriedly got his phone out of his pocket and phoned his brother. It turned out that Pak’s brother couldn’t help us either due to there being an important ceremony in his village.

We traipsed back up the hill to the car with all the bags and made for Amed a small fishing village a few kilometres back down the coast.

To be continued………..

14 Comments

  1. It’s always a treat to read your stuff, which should be a regular column in the Jakarta Globe, the best and funny stuff , “he nodded his head, side to side, like a bull” God Bless Irish , and just can’t wait to read the sequel! If you don’t write it soon, I’ll send Rex your way to RARK YOU UP hehe

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      1. Welcome , i only tweeted no RT yet hehe, never on twitter, too many egos for my liking! just reading your so ho story nearly done, does Irish get his beard trimmed hehe!

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  2. Irishman does his own beard trimming – a snazzy and generally well groomed number. However we forgot to bring the adaptor from Jakarta for his shaver so after 2 weeks in London he was starting to look a bit uncouth, rough around the edges sort of thing.
    As for the twitter lingo….I havent a clue. I’m clearly a twit if i don’t know the terminology! Thanks anyway

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  3. Amazing, gorgeous photos. I love “Glitter Bay” and after such a long drive I think I’d be quite tempted to take a dip. The “Green Terraces” are so cool looking. My fav of this group is “fieldsmaizemountains”…something about that image draws me in.

    Love all your descriptions of your view out the taxi window…what a fascinating world…beauty and sadness right alongside each other. I’m always on the edge of my seat reading your posts, Lottie.

    And then I reach the end of your post and oh no!! How disappointing! I guess “having” a boat and “maybe-possibly-will-try” attaining a boat mean the same thing??? I can imagine how you all must have felt. I’m still hoping for a happy ending to your tale, of course. Waiting with bated breath, Sister. Haha! xoxo

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    1. Gee thanks Sis! Glad you liked it 🙂

      Sorry to leave this as a cliffhanger….all shall be revealed soon but you’ve cleverly grasped the’ lost in translation’ element which is a key part of the story. You are spot on with your anaylsis Miss Marple

      The sights that we see, some awful, some wonderful. This place is a kaleidoscope of colour and life but Bali is an enigma. On the one hand they care passionately about a lot of things, religion, family, music etc and then on the other they seem to turn a blind eye to things that in the west we would find totally unacceptable. It is a cultural difference that is sometimes difficult to understand.

      Guess what I saw last night as I was waiting to board our plane back to Jakarta????

      A rat wandering around in the waiting area. It wasn’t my imagination Irishman and Theo saw it too. Whilst people were reading books and magazines before boarding, it was shuffling around under the rows of seats looking for things to eat. You’ve never seen someone pick their feet up of the floor faster! xoxo

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    1. Haha! I just left you a reply to your lovely comment on Ratus Vagina…thank you! I’ll be writing the sequel to this tomorrow. The last few days have been spent spending precious time with my boy who is now up in the air and wending his way back to London…. :((

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