While traveling down the sandy roads of Lombock, I met a group
of people in harmony. Skin dark and torn by reef, houses tucked
between mosques, they were some of the kindest I've met. They
played music until the sun rose, watching the stars go between
Agung and Rinjani until they disappeared.
Donkey was the mode of transport and that old donkey pulled us
between their houses and mosque, the sea turtles and the surf.
"Nice couple." the barman kidded, loud enough for us
to hear without scaring the burros.
He'd worked on an orangutan farm but had brought his pack here.
We spent Christmas smoking clove cigarettes and laughing at each
other's jokes. He is as good as they're made.
During the evening in the bar, We sat out and talked to two people
from Yogyakarta. One is an Indonesian who works in shipping and
the other's a retired TV news personality from Holland.
The Dutch anchorman took nervous sips of his wine as we spoke
about nuclear power.
"Can you imagine the tests underwater?"
"Have you seen the wake of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier?"
"Can you imagine the wake of a nuclear-powered aircraft
"Can you imagine the wake of a nuclear explosion?"
The old bugger.
Just then a man walked by with some tin cans to sell.
He wouldn't join the fisherman. He preferred the cans. His father
had died on the boats. The answer again was no. We sat and watched
as he plugged his cans together and walked on.
"I bought mine in Yogya," said the Dutchman.
In the cove where most of the boats moored, was a sailboat with
a family from Nelson, British Columbia on it. They have been traveling
the ocean in their sailboat, the five of them, for six years.
A re-married father, a Taiwanese mother, and their three boys,
all experts in the martial arts. They studied pentak shelat with
a 98-pound expert in a dirt pit and were covered in mud by the
end of their day. They looked like action figures. They made me
feel like George Plimpton. They send me photos from time to time.
Last I heard of them they were in Egypt and then Morroco.
I hope they are all ok now.