Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just call me Mary Poppins (Tidung, part 2)

Exploring Tidung
After we were settled in, we were eager to try out our new bikes! I was probably the most excited about this. My childhood is filled with memories of bike riding with my siblings and neighborhood friends 'til dark.

They had so many to choose from. They all had the typical Mary Poppins basket in the front and a rusted kick stand that took a good, solid kick with every force of you inside to move upwards. Too bad I took Tae Kwon Do; I'm sure Kung Fu expertise probably would have made the job a bit easier (that one's for you Cory).

If you were lucky enough, you picked a bike with good breaks. I had the worst luck trying to find a bike. Julia was kind enough to trade with me, as she claimed I had the longest legs in the group (well, besides Lynsey). I hesitated -- I always feel bad when people offer things. Too much pride, maybe.

I kindly accepted after realizing how much more comfortable I was going to be on the taller bike (which had new breaks!) Aasha was a bit anxious, as she hadn't ridden a bicycle in years. Julia and I reassured her that she'd be okay, and after a few attempts, Aasha was slowly leading the way down the bumpy road! Go AASHA GOO!!

So many options

We passed many beautiful (and, well let's be frank, not so beautiful) areas of Tidung. Tidung is such a tiny island! You can literally ride your bike from one end of the island to the other in probably one hour or less, depending on how many tail-less cats and clucking chickens you can dodge. The roads are really just little alley ways, as described in my last post. Here's another picture to give you an idea.

Narrow roads

Here are some of the rural areas. Well, I guess that's false because Tidung is completely rural. It's not uncommon in Indonesia to see polluted waters and areas in general with stray animals eating garbage to keep them alive. Jakarta is very dirty, especially the rivers! Just last weekend, I saw a twin mattress floating down one of Jakarta's many polluted rivers. There's garbage just piled up high everywhere.

Garbage everywhere

I'm not quite sure if it's a matter of lack of education or little access to resources or money, but when I see people picking through trash for money or keepsakes or animals rummaging for food, it makes me realize how lucky I am. The picture above was taken shortly before I saw a cow being slaughtered. Bad memories.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the bike ride! So, after passing some of the depressing areas in Tidung, we were suddenly in a field! I felt so free! Here's a great shot that Julia took of Aasha and me riding our bikes to nowhere (really, we didn't have a plan -- I love that feeling).


We eventually arrived at a cozy little spot and found the other three girls gazing and wading in the Java Sea! We parked our bikes against a tree  and went to feel the sand between our toes. Little did we know we were being followed, by more than one creature.. some 12 and 13 year old boys!

All three had quietly piled up on one motorbike, yes ONE, and followed us to the edge of the sea to watch us. I know for a fact they were 12 and 13 years old because they told me. And I know for a fact they were operating the motorcycle on their own because I saw it, with my own two eyes. They were also smoking cigarettes like nobody's business -- which, I may add, is perfectly normal here.

I believe these were actually taken with Danna's camera.

They could not speak much English.. but then again, what did I expect? I'm in Indonesia. I often find myself just expecting people to speak English at any business I go to. It's definitely ignorant because I do know better. But maybe that's the American coming out in me.. just expecting things to go my way, all the time. It almost makes me feel selfish. But I'm getting better.

Julia took some great pics! I took these from Nicole.

We wanted to pose for some pictures so we asked the boys in Bahasa if they could snap a few of us. At first, they hesitated. They eventually came towards us and despite the communicate barrier, we were able to get our request across. Eventually, the boys warmed up to us so we asked if we could take some pictures with them! I don't recall the exact conversation but between me and Danna, it went something like this: "Bisa anda (gesture clicking of camera) satu photo? Can I ... one photo? We took so many! I posted a couple below that were some of my favorites.

While attempting a broken Bahasa conversation with the boys, I noticed they were humming Adele! It's quite amazing how much of an influence the West can have upon other countries, even if it's on a small island such as Tidung. To hear these boys go from speaking zero English to knowing just about every word in Adele's "Someone Like You" song was quite impressive! Not quite sure I could sing ANY song in another language.

New friends :)

Aasha, Danna, me, kiddos, Julia in the Java Sea

I actually was able to capture some footage of the boys singing Adele's "Someone Like You" on my phone! They were humming the song and were a bit embarrassed but they didn't mind singing along once I played it on my iPod for them. They were so adorable. They sang with such passion. :) Turns out they were all friends, not more than 12 or 13 years old. They spent at least an hour or so hanging out and watching us! Check out the video I recorded of them with my Blackberry below. :)

Befriend a stranger. :) Little did I know this was not going to be my first encounter with locals in Tidung. ;) Def more Tidung updates to come!!

xoxo amber

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