Another day in paradise! I went for breakfast and was quickly served a coffee and packet of biscuits. I have come to learn in this part of the world that sometimes a few biscuits constitutes breakfast, so I wolfed down the entire packet that was presented to me. Just as I was about to leave and hunt down some of my own snacks, out came an actual breakfast. It was exactly the same as dinner last night, and equally enjoyable. It was just unfortunate so much stomach space was taken up by biscuits. I filmed a swimming shot for my video and chilled out for a while at ‘my house’ before jumping on the back of Ricky’s grey motorbike.

We rode to the ‘old village’ and visited his ‘grandfather’ in a traditional wooden house. I learned a bit about the local history – the elderly inhabitants were young adults when the Japanese invaded. Old Japanese bunkers can still be found in the surrounding hills. The old people I sat with said the Japanese bought things from the villagers using Japanese money, promising the local people that they could use the money to buy back things like rice. But the Japanese were lying and didn’t let the Indonesians use the Japanese money, so they basically just stole whatever they wanted. They also told me about feeling betrayed by the Indonesian government who had replaced traditional infrastructure (like the wooden house in which we were chatting) with cement and concrete under the guise of a ‘community development program’. Such programs were used by political groups to attract funding, but there was no one making sure the money was being spent properly. Most of it went into corrupt hands while shoddy ‘improvement’ work was done in helpless villages.

Next, we visited Ricky’s uncle who is the village’s Keeper of Culture, a role passed down through the family. He is called upon during village celebrations and important matters. He cannot eat the ‘common green vegetable’ – this is what I call it, because I don’t know its name, but I have been served it during nearly every meal in eastern Indonesia – because if he did then that year’s crop would fail. Back home on Koka Beach, I spent the afternoon drawing and filming. After the sun set, I had a wash and wandered down to the warung for dinner. I showed the family my drawing and they said they want to put it up in the restaurant.

Day 295 (pic)

Learning about the past

Accommodation $ Bamboo beach hut
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 9,018km