After a hot day of cycling we found ourselves in a massive wet thunderstorm. The rain came down and we both let ourselves get drenched in lovely cool water. It was sooooo nice to be cool. We’d cycled 98km and with the rain still going and the light starting to fade we stopped to camp. We turned off the highway down a little side alley, in the hope that we might find a spot to put the tent, however we found ourselves in a village. We asked the ladies if there was anywhere we could out our tent for the night, after showing them a photo of a tent they understood. I think the concept of camping is very alien to them (well the way we do it anyway) so even though we can say the correct words in Indonesian they still don’t get it without a picture. Plus we are European and maybe they expect that we would only stay in a hotel.
Well one lady said that we could camp next to her house, in the garden and took us there. We explained what we were doing and had a brief conversation about money and the fact that we are on a tight budget. They said we could camp for free. Then a few more people appeared and after a brief chat they all seemed to think that we should sleep inside – it was raining and too cold outside they said. We went inside and before we knew it half the village turned up, wanting to see who the people on bikes were. I was ushered off to have a shower and Chris set about cooking some food for us. I came back to find Chris with an audience of about 30+ people watching him cook rice and vegetables. It was like live Masterchef, better than TV said one of the men! All the children were sat cross legged on the floor watching his every move. It was very funny because the rice took ages to cook and Chris kept trying it and then putting it back on the stove. Rice is eaten everyday here, at most meals, so they were watching with interest. One lady seemed to be saying telling Chris how to cook it, Chris replied wittily ‘Ah Rice Ingriss’ - English Rice and she seemed happy with that.
Nobody spoke much english and we had a handful of phrases that we had learnt, but we managed to communicate well. We said the words Terima kasih and bagus a lot (thank you and good) which they found highly amusing, to the point of giving Chris the nickname of Terima kasih!
The family and their community made us so welcome, we felt like guests of honour. Someone appeared with some mineral water for us and then tea and coffee. They gave us pillows, towels and flip flops (our shoes were soaked)! After we had eaten we got everyone together for a photo, they were very excited about this and afterwards i went round with the camera showing all the children and older ladies the photo, zooming in so they could see themselves – they were pleased as punch. Funny thing is none of them look very happy in the photo – so serious, but they were a very friendly, jolly bunch… so you’ll just have to take my word for it