Sunday, March 6, 2011

welcome to the jungle

6:30am - "brigitte's house" homestay. ....Padang, West Sumatra

Rain is coming down in sheets out the window of my indonesian princess room.

Brigitte asked me what kind of room i want and i told her "whatever you think"... she giggled and said "i like that. always want someone to say 'wha-eva you think' so i choose for you."

she threw my boots by the door, walked me past the couch full of sweating half naked surfers and transients holding bin tang beers positioned in strange half sitting up/half collapsed down seats as to get a hit of the fan when it rotated towards them.
we walked across the marble floor that felt cool against my swollen cankled-from-traveling and blistered from walking feet... up the spiral staircase.

"where is brent!?" i kept asking her... she would say "who? oh. you mean pixi? he somewhere. maybe upstairs more."

i glimpsed into the other rooms, and saw bunk beds and floor fans... and then she opened the door to my room. "this one special for you."
this big room has a queen sized bed, a private bathroom, a TV, windows and air conditioning!
i was like, "whoa!" ... not expecting that.

she told me it was 250,000 rupiah a night. (about $25). SOLD.

Although sure, i could easily and happily stay in a bunk for about $6 a night... two things...
firstly - the fact that i got to wake up this morning this way.,.. which is listening to the rain and feeling the world sweltering our there, but being cool ONE LAST time before i go out to the island... is pretty cool.

and secondly--- i was on my way to the best western hotel (the only 5 star hotel in west sumatra) yesterday when i finally reached brent (pixi)... and that would have been 700,000.

basically, here is what happened.

i wrote that last entry on the ferry to Batam.

I played guitar on the ferry and a cute little indo lady came and sat on the floor next to me and listened and smiled and said "more. more"... which is pretty much the cutest thing i have ever experienced.

Arriving in Batam i went through Indo customs. I was SO happy to already have my visa. Josh came on an adventure with me to get it at the indonesian embassy last week in LA.

that was a fun day. i mean - every day on a joshiezan adventure is a fun day. that's why i can not WAIT to travel with him. i have a feeling once we start we will literally never ever stop.
when i signed in and wrote my name and purpose of visit to the embassy, and handed my I.D. to the guy behind the glass, Josh grabbed the pen and wrote under my name "joshua john michael hogan" and purpose for visit he wrote "support"
pshhhh. so good.

No support in Batam customs, but i made it through just fine.
Everyone asks "where you going? Bali?" or "Mao Pergi Bali?" I say "no. mentawai" or something like "tidak. saya mao pergi mentawai." ... not really sure yet. i was practicing with my taxi driver yesterday.
anyways - every time i say mentawai they all go OHHHH. "surfing girl".
i just go with it.

Came out of Batam customs and my checked bag had 5 guys around it all pointing to me and then to the bag. GREAT. what did i do?
They all speak at the same time "extra $10 singapore dollar. we carry. check your bag."
i paid $10 singaore dollars in singapore... but there is no arguing... i don't have any singapore money left. i gave it to a begger before i left. so i go to the ATM... which takes forever... and then give a big bill of indo money - one guy runs to get change, the other 4 ask me where i am going. and we do the whole "oh. surfer girl" song and dance.

finally i get my change, and waddle through the station with all my bags balanced on my body and get into a taxi.

the taxi driver is actually so adorable. telling me all about 'Bukkittinnggi' - an area of west sumatra near padang where you go hike and trek through the jungle and there is a big lake. it sounds amazing. i really want to go.
like... today.
i feel like most people coming to the mentawais don't really explore sumatra... cuz there is that one track mind - get to the surf!!

i am going to try to convince brent to come on an adventure with me... otherwise i might just go alone.

ANyways - i get to the airport with about 20 minutes before the flight - go through a whole song and dance about the luggage - have to go outside the airport to pay excess weight charge, but then she checks my second bag for free and says 'oh california!" and asks me if i know any movie stars. i say "yes. all of them"
and then charge it through "security" which is pretty insane. its like the lowest security you can ever imagine.

make it to my gate and on the flight.

i am on the aisle and a man sits by the window... his wife goes in the middle holding their three month old baby girl who is VERY sick. she has a croup cough and her head is hanging back out of the mother's arms.
i reach in my bag and hold my rose quartz and close my eyes and imagine myself sending healing vibes to the mother and baby for a good ten minutes until we start to take off and the mom starts fully panicking. she couldnt be more then 22 years old.
her husband is trying to rub her neck and looking at me trying to translate that she is very scared.

i touched her arm and she looked in my eyes with so much fear... so i just smiled her the juiciest, loving, safe vibes back and handed her my rose quartz that she gripped on to with both hands around the baby. i showed her how to exhale and relax her shoulders and smile... she went into this crazy meditation trance for the entire 40 minute flight and then she and her husband hugged me when we landed.

sooo... that was totally epic.

finally got my bags, put it on a cart... and JUST as i'm about to cross the threshold i realized.... oh SHIT. is brent coming to get me?

i mean, we talked about it very briefly, but never firmed up any plans. his lady ayen who booked my flight might come, but i don't know what she looks like... my laptop was dead, my phone was dead, my i-thing was dead. i have no addresses, no phone numbers, and no clue what to do.

i didn't even panic for ONE second.

i thought to myself... sweet... adventure!?

as i paced up and down the sidewalk through crowds of people and harrassing taxi drivers, i realized ya... he is definitely not here.
so i stopped walking to look around and wonder if there was a payphone...

within one minute i literally had a semi-circle of 25 indonesian men standing around me all asking me what was wrong. i tried to explain... i think i need to use a payphone and see if brent still has the same indo number he used to have, that i ssaved the number... 25 cell phones get whipped out and laughing i just start saying out brent's number. (i told brent later that i seriously think every taxi driver in west sumatra has his number now).... they all tried to call him for me.
no response.
then they all decided i should go to a hotel.
and they all pushed my luggage trolly to the hotel booking window at the airport...
and they all translated for me.
and they all decided they would drive me to the hotel.

(this was a moment for me when i realized, that mom... i am never in NEED of help over here. it is quite the opposite. i will never have to ask for help or feel helpless in this part of the world... its is like the bali massages... it is overwhelming and inundating to the point of head explosion... but the good news is.... i never need help and cant get it. so that is huge.

somehow "Bondi" - (or at least that is what it sounded like) - won and i got in his taxi and decided i was so exhausted... i wanted to just go to a nice hotel with wi-fi and a bed i could collapse on... i didn't care. i had been travelling for almost 4 days... i needed to rest and charge up... my energy, my i-thing, my lap-top... everything.

as we were driving from the airport to central padang i told my driver i needed an indo cell phone so he pulled right over... haha. typical.

i got an indonesia phone number -
+62 821 69 619762
(in case anyone needs it)

and i got to charge my i-thing.

i wanted to try making a call so i tried that number i had for brent and got through!

he was so worried about me. apparently he called Batam airport and they said i hadn't made my flight. So he and Ayen didn't come pick me up. he thought i was lost in singapore.
i put the taxi driver on the phone and he guided us to the homestay.

once i got situated in my princess room... i found brent in his bed in front of a fan with earphones on watching a movie.
i sat on his bed and we shared travel stories for about an hour.


it was SO good to be with a familiar face... i felt like we could have sat there for hours. in fact, i think we did.
the Mosque prayers started echoing into the room and we both realized neither of us had eaten in days...

so we went for a walk to get food.

for a good ten years we have said to eachother whenever we walk anywhere "thank GOD you are a fast walker."
we keep the same speed, which is brisk. it's awesome.

we found a little place where they bring you a little bowl of water for dipping your fingers to wash them... and then just bring you out everything they have in the restuarant and two plates of rice...
and you just scoop with your fingers and eat it with your hands.
i forgot about this.
its AWESOME. i love eating with my hands.
i had a pocari sweat and thought of erin and brent had bin tang.

then i had a chocolate ice cream that was so perfect.. cuz i was sweating bullets from the weather and also the spice. its like everything here is cooked in sriracha's older more hard core brother.
i ilove it.

we got a ride back on the back of someone's motorbike... a friend of brents who's name i didnt catch.

jet lag hit me like a slap to the face and by 9pm i was lying on the bed listening to the gnarly thunder and rain and copeland underneath it.

Brent's boat is not even in the water yet.
Still getting repaired... so he is not driving out to the islands for another week.
i have to be there by march 15th - so i can either wait with him in padang (and go explore - maybe go to bukkitinngi) - and go with him...
or i could take the ferry
or i could take some littel private puddle jumper plane.

i am basically going to leave the decision with ainsley and brent.
i just don't mind either way.

i am just so glad to be ALMOST there!... but i guess wherever you are... you're there...
so let me rephrase that.

i am so glad to be HERE.

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